The Dean Speaks
Diwali Greeting from the Dean
"I wanted to offer a special greeting to all of our Hindu students and staff this festival time, and to wish you all a happy and prosperous Diwali.
In the midst of the often very bleak news, and the grey weather, it's a blessing to have a chance to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil, and of knowledge over ignorance.
As Hindus across the world remember the victory of Rama over the demon Ravana, may this be a time when our own individual demons are defeated, whatever they may be. A time when we continue to create knowledge through excellent research and education, and a time when the world addresses the demons of war, poverty and oppression.
May we all find moments of light and colour this November. And a very happy Diwali to all who celebrate!"
Written for a different humanitarian catastrophe, but is on my mind right now:
A prayer for peace in the Holy Land
Holy God of Peace, We know your heart breaks when your children fight and kill. We pray for peace and justice in the Holy Land, for the safety of all people, and for an immediate end to violence. Be with all those who are wounded, bereaved and terrorised, and gather in your eternal arms all those who have died. Turn the hearts of all those who believe killing is the answer. In the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we pray. Amen.
Remembering Bishop Keith Riglin FKC
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of Bishop Keith Riglin on Sunday 24 September 2023, following a short illness.
Keith left King’s in April 2021 to move to Scotland as Bishop of Argyll & The Isles in the Episcopal Church of Scotland, but kept in touch with many former colleagues and students, and he will be remembered with great fondness by many across the university.
Keith joined King’s in April 2012 as maternity cover for the Chaplain to the Denmark Hill & Waterloo campuses, and after that year was delighted to be asked to stay in the Chaplaincy team in the newly created post of Chaplain to the St Thomas’ campus. Over the next eight years Keith put in a tremendous amount of work at St Thomas’ to build relationships amongst both King’s and GSTT staff, becoming a valiant supporter of all the students’ needs on that campus.
From 2017 Keith also took on the role of first Assistant Dean and then Vice-Dean, and was a hugely enthusiastic supporter of the AKC programme, taking the course himself (completing it in 2016) as well as hosting discussion groups at St Thomas’ and serving on the Steering Committee from 2012 to 2020.
In common with other members of the Chaplaincy team, Keith greatly enjoyed being on the platform to applaud students at Graduation ceremonies, and he especially appreciated spotting the AKC epitoge on graduands’ gowns. He was deeply honoured to be awarded the Fellowship of the College in January 2023.
Keith was also a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Theology & Religious Studies from 2016-19, and maintained the link after his move to Scotland, as a Visiting Research Fellow.
Keith had the hugely enviable gift of making friends and contacts wherever he went; at any Chaplaincy social event he could be guaranteed to spot someone new, and start a conversation with the phrase “I don’t think I know you – I’m Keith”. He will be very sadly missed across more of King’s than just the St Thomas’ campus, and beyond the Dean’s Office & Chaplaincy.
The Strand and Guy’s Chapels are open all day for prayer and quiet reflection, and to light candles. More information about formal ways to remember Keith will follow in due course. In the meantime, please keep his widow, Jen Smith, and his wider family, friends and colleagues (in Scotland and elsewhere) in your thoughts.
Keith’s wonderful gift for friendship made him deeply beloved at King’s and beyond. We will greatly miss his wit, his kindness, and his delightfully infectious joie de vivre.
Reflections on the start of the academic year
A message from the Dean, the Revd Dr Ellen Clark-King:
As we begin a new year together, I want to root us in the college’s motto, the phrase that is woven into the fabric of King’s and that should be a thread to guide us into the future more than to tether us to the past: sancte et sapienter, holiness and wisdom.
200 years ago, King’s founders likely had a very different sense of what those words mean than most of us today. Their understanding would have had more of God in it and less of justice and equality. Holiness, for them, would have been based in a particular form of worship, while wisdom would have been shaped by a very different understanding of the world around them.
It is completely right that the content of these two words should flex and change with new knowledge and broader experience. They need to integrate fresh and surprising insights as well as to preserve stable, grounding truths. But, through all that change, I think these words still resonate with a sense of why we are all here, why King’s is here and why King’s deserves to continue to be here.
Holiness for many of us may be a slightly alien word. But, it reflects the human desire to be the very best we can be, to honour the highest expressions of humanity. Holiness is helping create a university, and a world, where mutuality, kindness, respect, and generosity mean that it can be a safe home for all.
Wisdom feels more naturally at home in a university, but it is still something we need to consciously commit to if we are to do more than create mere knowledge. Wisdom involves a long-term perspective that is able to see well-beyond immediate, individual benefit towards far-reaching and fundamental purpose. Wisdom calls for responsibility for our impact on the world around us and on the generations to come.
So, as we move into this new academic year, let us at King’s continue to create a space together which has holiness and wisdom at its centre. Let’s try to make sure sancte et sapienter are knitted into the fabric of the King’s experience as more than words in an ancient language. Let’s live into our commitments to ‘making the world a better place’ and ‘knowledge with purpose’ so that we can be proud to be members of this ever-evolving King’s College London.
Welcome to King's!
A message from the Dean, the Revd Dr Ellen Clark-King:
Welcome to your great university! You may be feeling a lot of different emotions as you begin university life – excitement and anticipation maybe alongside some anxiety and apprehension. I want you to remember one very important thing in the midst of all that – you are enough. You are bright enough to manage your coursework; you are likeable enough to make good friends; you are capable enough to manage this big change in your life. You are enough – and we are delighted you are here!
And, for the times when you don’t believe this, or if everything gets overwhelming and you need to step back for a little while, there are lots of people here to help. You can walk in to the Chaplaincy on any campus and talk with one of our friendly and understanding Chaplains, who are there to help students of all faiths and none. You can make an appointment with a Counsellor, another Student Services Specialist, or with your Tutor. No-one will consider this a failure on your part, everyone will want to help.
I hope your time at King’s is joyful and challenging, sometimes full of silliness, sometimes full of wisdom, and always moving you forward into growth. When things get tough, as they do for all of us from time to time, don’t hesitate to ask for the help you need. You are enough, you’ve got this, and we are on your side cheering you on!
Welcome to King’s – we really are delighted you are here!