Good morning. It is a delight and an honor to be with you all this morning, to worship and to sing together, and to give thanks for the magnificence of this space, made glorious by the hearts, minds, and hands of so many, for the benefit of our boys and for the glory of God. We are so blessed and fortunate.
I want to thank Reverend Edwards and our Missionary Society for planning this service; Mrs. Long, Mr. Vick, and our Concert Brass Band for performing; Mr. Charlton, Mr. Valentine, and Mr. Szymendera for their lessons this morning and for their leadership in helping to launch this facility; our entire Board of Governors for their vision and commitment to the future of this school; and our Development Team, including current and past leadership, for helping to secure the funds necessary over the past many years to bring this bold concept to its fruition. Thank you all—this facility was truly a team effort, and we could not be more pleased and grateful.
I offer my thanks, as well, to Mr. Louis Ryan, Board member and alumnus whose name we happily associate with this beautiful Recital Hall. Mr. Ryan is unable to join us this morning, but he will be with us later this spring at debut concert events, and we will forever be thankful for his leadership and commitment.
Most importantly, to the boys of our Upper School and to our younger students, too—Thank you for your excellence and inspiration. This facility—this entire Arts Center—is here because of and for you. It belongs to you and to future generations of Saints who will sing, speak, paint, create, and perform in this Recital Hall and throughout this entire facility, tapping into elements of your humanity, growth, and development that you may not even realize that you possess.
Know that this space is for you, for all us, whether you consider yourself an artist or not. Know that art is with and within all us; we use and express it in different forms; it enriches our lives and makes us human and can even serve to make us more humane. Embrace the role that the arts can play in your lives today and in the years ahead.
As we grow in comfort and familiarity with this incredible new space, I have two charges for you, the students of St. Christopher’s—
First, know that without you, both students and faculty, this facility is but a hollow shell. It consists of concrete, brick, woodwork, metal, drywall, and too many electrical components to count, but there is neither humanity nor true beauty in this structure without all of us. This Arts Center, this Recital Hall, needs our voices, it needs our effort, our triumphs and our failures to become all that it should be.
I urge you all to take risks in this space, to succeed, fail, and to try again; be bold, make noise and sound; create in this space, both visually and through your words. Think critically and be challenged in this space; be restless and inquisitive. Only with our own efforts and exertions can we make this space truly beautiful for all of us and for generations to come.
Second, let us serve as good stewards of this space. Yes, that means common habits such as no food in the building and keeping your feet off our finely upholstered seats. But more importantly, let us care for this space with the dignity and regard it deserves. This is your space, yes, but it must be a space for our boys in all three divisions and boys who are not yet Saints but dream and hope to be one day. We can honor each other, our school community, and even God by being kind, gracious, and compassionate in how we treat this space, each other, and in how we pass it on to future generations. What a gift and an opportunity we have before us. Seize it in a way that makes you and others proud.
We ask all these things in the name of God the Father, who loves us so deeply that we might have opportunities before us like the ones we have here at St. Christopher’s School. In God’s name we pray, Amen.