Yesterday Dean Markham and Professor Bob Prichard led a short prayer service to mark the beginning of the careful demolition of the ruins of the 1881 Immanuel Chapel. The company responsible for the demolition requested prayer as this three month project begins.The Dean gave thanks for that communion of saints who have worshipped in the sacred space which was destroyed by fire on October 22, 2010. We remembered “faculty, students, staff, and families of the Virginia Theological Seminary and the Episcopal High School; the doctors, nurses, staff, and patients of the Fairfax Seminary Hospital; the congregations of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, Immanuel Church on the Hill and la Iglesia de Cristo Rey; and for friends, neighbors, visitors, and strangers who have joined with us from time to time.” We gave thanks for the past and looked to the future in the hope of Christ.
Lessons were read from Nehemiah 2: 11-18 and Mark 1: 35-38. Together the gathered congregation said Psalm 102: 1-16. The service bulletin was printed in English and Spanish.
The plaques remaining on the crumbling chapel walls will be removed with care. The plaque remembering Paca Kennedy, Professor of Language and Literature, who taught at VTS from 1908-1931 bears a message which is worth remembering. Of Kennedy it is said: “An accurate and thorough scholar who combined deep convictions and generous tolerance.” The Kennedy plaque and all the others are cherished and tell the story of Virginia Theological Seminary.
Please keep the demolition crew in your daily prayers. This is difficult and dangerous work. The prayer we said yesterday morning, let us pray daily:
O God, at whose word mortals go forth to their labor until the evening, be merciful to all who will work in this place. Comfort them concerning their toil, shield them from bodily harm, protect their efforts of sober and honest industry, and bless them with accomplishments that satisfy and delight them, for the love of your dear Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen Rev. J. Barney Hawkins IV, Ph.D. Vice President for Institutional Advancement