Sometimes I need to write about two matters. This is one of those days. So let me start with worship. As we get into a rhythm for the academic year, remember tonight we celebrate our first Thursday Night Live at 5:15 p.m. in the Immanuel Chapel. Thursday Night Live or TNL is a weekly Thursday evening Eucharist designed to draw all of God’s people together in worship. This family-friendly service creates a welcoming and inclusive space to explore different models for intergenerational worship— worship in which people of every age are understood to be equally important.
Intentionally experimental and offering numerous opportunities for reflection and feedback, the service is a place where VTS community members of all ages are invited to fill ministry roles as preachers, lectors, ushers, and acolytes. The services are designed last 40 to 45 minutes with a sermon of 5 to 7 minutes. Tonight, our Associate Dean of Chapel, the Rev. Dr. Ruthanna Hooke, is scheduled to preach and celebrate. As she leads the chapel team with these creative services, students are significantly involved in the planning stages. The student-led services are coordinated by four students: Katie Beaver, Sarah Cowan, Colleen Schiefelbein, and Michael Sweeney.
Now it is was in the context of worship that I announced the decision of the Seminary to allocated $1.7 million of its endowment to create a fund for reparations. As we approach the milestone of 200 years, we are deeply conscious of our past. It is a past which is an interwined mixture of sin and grace. Part of our past is explicit racism. We were a Seminary where enslaved persons worked. We participated fully in segregation. So we apologize; so we commit to a different future; but we need to do more. This fund is our seed - the first step.
As we issue the press release today, I will make my way to the service tonight. Please join me tonight and spread the word to students, spouses, staff, faculty, neighbors, etc. All are welcome!