Archbishop Desmond Tutu visits Lancing College
Tuesday 22nd May 2007 was a unique day in Lancing’s history, as Archbishop Desmond Tutu visited the college to dedicate a new window in the chapel to the memory of his friend Father Trevor Huddleston, CR, OL. It is a day that will be remembered by all that were present to see one of the greatest church leaders of the twentieth century humbly say thank you for the influence of Father Huddleston.
Father Trevor Huddleston (1913-1998) was a pupil at Lancing from 1927 to 1931 and is one of Lancing College’s most distinguished alumni. He wrote that: “Lancing, I think, was a place that allowed me to grow very much to be what I wanted to be…... During those years the school had what was called a 'mission' down in Camberwell, which in those days was one of the very poorest slum areas in London. I used to go there with one or two friends, as we were invited to do; to stay down there and see how the other half lived you might say. It certainly had an impact on me because the kids were barefoot and obviously lots of them had rickets and were malnourished. So it was quite an eye-opener for somebody who had been brought up in Hampstead, and it certainly did something to turn my mind to the social divide in this country.”
An Anglican priest, whose remarkable ministry spanned over half a century, Father Huddleston is best known as one of the founders, and President, of the Anti-Apartheid Movement. Archbishop Tutu has said of him: “If you could say that anybody single-handedly made apartheid a world issue then that person was Trevor Huddleston.” Father Huddleston had a love and respect for all people, regardless of race or religion. A figure of international importance, he was radical, fearless and an inspiration to freedom fighters throughout the world. His achievements cannot be over-estimated.
Trevor Huddleston spent much of his ministry in Africa. As a young priest in Sophiatown, a black residential area in Johannesburg, he became an anti-apartheid activist and earned the nickname Makhalipile, “dauntless one”. In 1955, the ANC bestowed on him the rare honour of "Isitwalandwe". He was made Bishop of Masasi, Tanzania (1960), Bishop of Stepney (1968), Bishop of Mauritius (1978), and Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean (1978). In 1998, he was made a KCMG.
Archbishop Tutu led the service of thanksgiving, during which he gave a moving sermon which included light-hearted jokes, a serious description of some of the injustices which black people in South Africa had to face, and an explanation of the influence that Father Huddleston had on him. They met in South Africa and they developed a friendship spanning over 50 years. Archbishop Tutu recounted the first time he saw Bishop Huddleston, "I was standing with my mother and I must have been about maybe nine or so, when this white person in a flowing cassock swept past and doffed his black hat to my mother. Only much later did I discover that it had been Trevor Huddleston." He added: "What? A white man raising his hat to a black woman, an uneducated domestic worker at that? Quite unheard of. But from him it was quite natural."
To read the full text of the sermon, click on the download button at the end of the article.
After the sermon the Archbishop led the dedication party to the Huddleston Memorial Window for the formal dedication. The party included Lady Parkinson, Trevor Huddleston's niece and closest surviving relative.
The Huddleston Memorial Window has been designed by the distinguished stained glass artist Mel Howse. South facing, its translucent colours are predominantly blue and golden yellow. The horizontal image (across four lights) conveys both apartheid’s divisions and a sense of hope. The lower half suggests shanty-town roofs and the repression of South African people. The figure of Trevor Huddleston is clearly represented. The upper section shows a landscape which could represent an idealised South African city or Jerusalem.
Following the service, and after an opportunity for many to meet the Archbishop, lunch was held in the marquee. There, the famous jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela, who was given his first trumpet by Trevor Huddleston, played for a short time. Archbishop Tutu gave a “question and answer” session with some of the students, where he demonstrated his continuing awareness of the issues affecting Africa.
The event was attended by all the pupils of the college, members of staff, parents, and invited guests, many of whom represented the worldwide communities and organisations with which Huddleston was most closely associated. The President and Provosts of the Woodard Corporation were also present.
The photographs on this page (except for the one of the window) were taken by Terry Busby.
Desmond Tutu's Sermon 20.44 Kb