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Photograph: Mass celebration

by
23 March 2011

by Margaret Holness

Mass celebration: about 40,000 pupils from independent and maintained schools associated with the Woodard Corporation, founded by an Anglican priest the Revd Nathaniel Woodard, celebrated the bi-centenary of his birth on Monday.

Eucharistic services were held simul­taneously at the oldest of the schools — Lancing College in Sussex (above) — and Black­burn, Exeter, Llandaff, Newcastle, and Rochester Cathedrals, and in schools around the country; and a message from the Archbishop of Canterbury was read.

Woodard, born in the same year as the National Society, shared its vision of providing Christian education. Over the past 20 years, there has been growing cross-over between the two organisations. The 22 independent schools founded by the Corporation have now been joined by 15 affiliates, state-maintained schools, and the Corporation has begun spon­soring academies. Six other independent schools are also now Woodard associates.

At the Lancing eucharist, the Senior Provost of Woodard, Canon Brendan Clover, blessed a new icon, which will be taken this year to all 46 schools associated with the Corporation. There will be a final service at West­minster Abbey in November.

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