VTS Class of 2014 Designs Special Liturgy


Media Contact: Curtis Prather
Tel: 703-461-1782
Email: cprather@vts.edu

Alexandria, Va. – Yesterday evening the site of the new Immanuel Chapel was used for worship for the first time. A special liturgy designed by this year’s senior class of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) was held at 6:15 p.m. The purpose of the service was to pay tribute to the three worship sites on the seminary’s campus and to commemorate their three years spent at the seminary.

“The Seniors had the idea," said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president of VTS. "They are very conscious that this is the class that has watched the Chapel designs emerge and witness the capital campaign succeed. But like the Jewish people in the Wilderness, they can see the Promised Land but it isn't going to be possible for them to access it. So last night, a special liturgy happened."

The service began in the Chapel Garden, site of the Seminary’s 1881 Chapel which was lost to fire in 2010, with a litany of remembrance. The service continued to the Lettie Pate Evans Interim Chapel, located in the Addison Academic Center where the VTS community has worshipped together since 2011. Those gathered listened to Scriptures. Finally, all processed to the construction site of the new Immanuel Chapel where the Rt. Rev. James J. “Bud” Shand, bishop of the Diocese of Easton and chair of the board of trustees at VTS, and Dean Markham helped celebrate the Holy Eucharist.

During the procession across campus to the site of the new Immanuel Chapel, the Class of 2014’s gift to the Seminary was unfurled: a beautiful banner of a phoenix arising from the ashes created by North Carolina artisan Ms. Kerstin McDaniel.

“This is the class that has seen how grace can come from fire,” said Markham. “They have watched the capital campaign succeed and the designs of a beautiful new chapel emerge. It is so appropriate that this theme is captured in this beautiful banner. “

In the midst of the Eucharistic prayer, Bishop Shand offered the opportunity for all the students to speak the Scriptures they had written last week on the ring beam above them in the new Chapel. This was an opportunity for the words to fill the space and to rise past the place where they are written.

Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary is the flagship Seminary of the Episcopal Church. One of our first benefactors was Francis Scott Key whose poem provides the text for our national anthem. In the 191 years since being established, VTS has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including: the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington;  and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those being ordained who received residential theological education. Visit us online at www.vts.edu.