Spirituality forms the foundation of daily life at St Anne’s. We strive to nurture girls to be aware that they are spiritual beings and to consider the teachings of Jesus Christ. The name ‘Diocesan College’ indicates our membership of the Anglican Church and the Diocese of KwaZulu-Natal.
All faiths and denominations are welcome at St Anne’s, although all girls are expected to attend regular worship in our Chapel – morning services twice a week, and either Holy Eucharist or Evening Prayer on Sundays.
Meet the Chaplain
The spiritual life of the St Anne’s community is cared for by the College Chaplain, Reverend Doctor Susan van Niekerk, who joined the staff at St Anne’s in 2011. Rev Susan guides religious life at St Anne’s, offering meaningful guidance and counsel to girls and staff.
Rev Susan spent a few years of her childhood in Hilton, living in a house that borders onto the St Anne’s vlei. She did most of her schooling in Johannesburg. Despite accumulating a BSc in Laboratory Medicine, an MSc in Biotechnology and a PhD in Molecular Genetics and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (PGCE), Susan decided to follow her true calling, get a Diploma in Theology and become an Anglican priest. She worked in parish ministry at St Martins-in-the-Veld, Rosebank, and then Chaplain to the College at Bishop Bavin School, where she also taught Life Sciences.
Rev Susan has a passion for Jesus and for providing girls with opportunities to encounter God and grow in their faith. She has a good sense of humour and leads worship creatively. She loves being at St Anne’s and is grateful to be part of what God is doing here.
Girls meet in small groups to discuss how to live out their faith in this complex world.
Each boarding house has a group where girls meet weekly to pray.
Another group of girls who are leading us into greater incorporation of African style praise and worship in our community.
Girls who set up the chapel for services and who are involved in more liturgical forms of worship.
A very active Students Christian Association is run by the girls, under the supervision of the staff.
A group of girls on instruments, with vocals, who lead worship at SCA and in Chapel from time to time, using contemporary songs.
HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL HYMN
According to the family of Betty Sutton, Betty wrote the words of the ‘Hymn of Light’ as well as the words for the hymn ‘Look down, O Father, on our Native Land.’ She was apparently quite secretive about her writing, but told one of her nieces that she had written the ‘Hymn of Light’. A little book found amongst her possessions, Krishnaji: The Light Bringer, published in 1928, seems to have been her inspiration for the hymn. She had marked certain passages which refer to light shining in darkness and bringing of light. The ‘Hymn of Light’ was sung at the dedication of the New Wing on 24 June 1938 and was here referred to as the school hymn. It was also sung at the Diamond Jubilee in September 1939.
O joyful Light, by Whose clear shining only,
In trust we seek, and seeking find a way;
Strength of the tempted, Brother of the lonely,
From out our darkness bringest Thou the day.
Lo having Thee, we lose not one another,
Sundered, united, dying but to birth;
All worlds are one in Thee, O more than brother,
And one our family in heaven and earth.
So shine in us, our little love reproving,
That souls of all may kindle at the flame;
The whole world’s hatred, broken by our loving
Shall bow to love, Thine everlasting name.
Therefore to Thee be praise and thanksgiving
To Father, Son, and Comforter Divine;
We lift our voice and sing with all things living,
O Light of Life, the Glory that is Thine.
The College Chapel
The College Chapel was built in 1911 shortly after the school moved to Hilton Avenue. It has always played a central role in the lives of our girls and has been extended twice since that date to accommodate all girls and staff.
The Chapel is a place of calm, peace, and quiet where girls go to reflect and worship.
The Chapel is adorned with numerous, beautiful stained-glass windows, most of which were gifts to the school, with some dating as far back as 1911.
The latest addition is the Rose Window, a breathtaking, three-metre stained glass window set into the north wall of the Chapel. The artwork is described as “an ancient art form in modern time” by Ruth Nesbitt, who worked on the intricate commission with her husband Hunter Nesbitt, a renowned artist and stained-glass expert.
The striking rose window is made up of a number of elements in multiples of twelve: petals, borders and Hilton daisies. Blue triangles represent the blue-green rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal, and angels hold symbols that represent the fruits of the spirit: love, self-control, patience, peace, humility, strength, kindness, gentleness, joy, grace, hope and faithfulness. The central pane of the window represents earth, wind, fire and water, embodying the love of our Creator.
The rich colours of the glass refract coloured light into the Chapel, shining onto the congregation and blessing our community.