The Revd Dr Malcolm Guite is stepping down as Chaplain at Girton College. He has been a much-valued colleague for nearly two decades, first as acting Chaplain and then as incumbent Chaplain for 17 years. It is a half-time position, so that as well as being inspired by Malcolm’s ministry, the Fellows, students and staff at Girton have, over two decades, enjoyed the fruits of his myriad writing, poetry, teaching and musical projects.
Tributes to our outgoing Chaplain have poured in over recent weeks. One observation, from a Girton Fellow, sums up the mood: ‘This motorbike-riding, Grateful Dead-quoting, Bob Dylan-singing, Priest, poet and mystic is one in a million’
The disruption associated with COIVD-19 has precluded a formal leaving ceremony though, ironically, it has enabled some fragments of a farewell to be captured online. You can, for example, listen to Revd Guite’s last full term of Sunday services on the subject of The Lord’s Prayer here, each offering an opportunity to listen to the Chapel Choir, to Fellows, students and staff reading from scripture and poetry, and to a series of thoughtful sermons. One sermon, uniquely, is much the same from year to year; it is for graduands on the day of General Admission. That service too has been preserved for posterity and is available here.
For a glimpse more broadly of Malcolm Guite’s role within the College, please drop into the GirtOnline Garden Party where you can, in our ‘live at 5pm’ playlist, hear a short tribute from the Mistress. She remarks on how comforting it has been to everyone in College – people of all faiths and of none – to have the Chaplain’s support when times are tough. His wisdom, compassion and kindness, his inclusive, ecumenical use of the Chapel, and his availability to individuals in times of great need, is something that will long be remembered here at Girton. Throughout the ups and downs, those engaging with the Christian faith have enjoyed a lively programme of Chapel activity with a different thought-provoking theme each term, aptly complemented by words and music. An imaginative calendar of activity from candlelit compline, to the rousing advent carol service and a distinctive approach to celebrating the Ascension is all part of Malcolm’s legacy.