Celebrating 200 Years of Worship

Date: August 1, 2023

2023 marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of Virginia Theological Seminary. As our bicentenary celebration approaches, we have been “marking the moment” over the past few years. October 12-14 will culminate this celebration with our Bicentenary Celebration, and worship will have a central focus.  On Thursday, we will have our Bicentenary Evensong with Sermon and the reading of the necrology. Friday will include Paws to Pray, a worship service to which our furry friends are invited. That evening, we will have another Bicentenary Evensong with Sermon. On Saturday, we will have our Festive Bicentenary Eucharist with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry as our presider and preacher. Join us for these worship opportunities as we offer God our praise and thanksgiving for 200 years of blessed service to the Episcopal Church.

Immanuel Chapel will continue our legacy of offering spirit-filled worship for the VTS community. We welcome our entering students who arrive this week and next. You will find worship in Immanuel Chapel a rare and delightful experience.  Our mission is to offer worship that reflects the breadth of liturgical and cultural experiences in the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, and among our ecumenical partners.

Worship in Immanuel Chapel involves the breadth of liturgical experiences from “high church” worship with “smells and bells” to prayer and praise celebrations. As part of our mission, we use all the liturgical and musical resources authorized by the Episcopal Church, including the BCP, Enriching Our Worship, The Hymnal 1982, Lift Every Voice and Sing II, Wonder, Love, and Praise, and Voices Found.

We also offer worship services reflecting our community’s diverse cultures, including bilingual/multilingual worship services using Flor y Canto and the experiences of African, Asian, Latinx, Middle-Eastern, and other cultural groups. Each year, we are blessed to have students join us from around the Anglican Communion, many of whom are ordained in their provinces. With the Bishop of Virginia’s blessing, they offer their gifts of ordained ministry in Immanuel Chapel as presiders and assisting priests, including using liturgies from their home provinces.

We have an ecumenical faculty and student body, including deacons and pastors from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the National Baptist Convention. Our faculty preach and lead worship in these traditions, and students join them in planning and running those services.

We continue to offer a robust schedule of services, with 17 weekly services. This year, we will have Morning Prayer at 7:45 am each morning (Thursday are in formation/colloquy groups at 8:00). Eucharist at 8:15 am Monday through Wednesday. Evening Prayer at 5:15 pm each afternoon with the first Thursday being our Community Worship, and Compline at 9:00 pm online.

We are so blessed to have such a rich array of worship services in Immanuel Chapel. If you are an entering student, I look forward to meeting you. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

The Rev. Shawn Strout, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Worship
Associate Dean of Chapel

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