Date: August 8, 2022
It is wonderful to welcome our incoming students to VTS. Each year, we are blessed to have faithful and talented students join us from not only across the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion but also from other traditions as well. Each brings such valuable gifts to our community.
The chapel department is excited to begin a new year of worship. Our mission statement describes us as a community “devoted to worship and prayer.” For two hundred years, worship has remained central to the life of this community even as it has evolved through that time. Church historians have described VTS as the “low church” seminary of the Episcopal Church, which was quite accurate for most of our history. However, as we entered the twenty-first century, the ethos of our community broadened. Today, I often describe VTS as the seminary for the whole church. The chapel department seeks to offer worship that reflects that broader vision.
We will continue our abundant schedule of services. Mondays will begin with sung Morning Prayer at 8:15, Evening Prayer at 5:15, and Compline at 9:00. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays will now have said Morning Prayer at 7:45, Holy Eucharist at 8:15, Evening Prayer at 5:15, and Compline at 9:00. We continue with formation and colloquy groups in the mornings on Thursdays. For each first Thursday of the month, we will have a Community Eucharist with special emphases — backpack blessings in September, St. Francis animal blessings in October, and many more. We hope that children, youth, parents, and spouses/partners will join our students and faculty for these services at 5:15. The remaining Thursdays will be Holy Eucharist with a sermon followed by Compline at 9:00. With liturgy and music that utilizes the breadth of the liturgical and musical resources of the Episcopal Church as well as ecumenical partners, the chapel department seeks to offer services that come from the whole church. Visual art will continue to play a central role in our service as well.
Our worship planning teams involve students in designing certain services with the assistance of a faculty coordinator. We will continue to have our seasonal, multicultural, contemplative, innovative, Lutheran, and Presbyterian teams. Prayer and Praise is a new worship team this year, so look for more offerings from that team.
In addition to our worship services, we are blessed to have an amazing VTS Concert Series this year with Janet Yieh, the Singing Sergeants, and The Thirteen. Our Convocation Evensong, Advent Lessons and Carols with the Awarding of the Dean’s Cross for Service, and our Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration are regular services that enrich us every year.
We are truly blessed to have outstanding liturgical and musical resources in our community. If you are an incoming student, please know that many opportunities for worship and service are available. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions about our worship life.
The Rev. Shawn Strout, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Chapel
Assistant Professor of Worship