Looking Forward to Spring Semester Worship

Date: January 29, 2021

I am delighted to serve as the Acting Associate Dean of Chapel this spring while Bishop Jim Mathes enjoys a well-deserved sabbatical. As we begin a new semester, I am writing to share our plans for worship.

For the first half of the semester, worship will continue to be online. This is the safest option for the health of our Seminary community. It also allows us to make Immanuel Chapel available as a vaccination clinic, answering God’s call to love and serve our neighbors.

We are choosing to use this time to focus on creative approaches to worship, using technology to gather and pray in innovative ways.

  • Visit our YouTube channel on Monday, February 1 at 8:15 a.m. for Opening Convocation, including what may be the first-ever “virtual academic procession” and the premiere of the newly commissioned VTS Bicentennial Hymn.
  • February is Black History Month, celebrated in music and prayers, including the commemoration of Absalom Jones (transferred) on Friday, February 12.
  • Ash Wednesday is February 17. We will distribute ashes in advance to the entire campus community, and we encourage everyone to gather online as we begin our Lenten journey.
  • On Tuesday, February 23, Quiet Day will include video reflections by the Rt. Rev. Phoebe Roaf ’08, bishop of West Tennessee, and a musical meditation by the Rev. Rick Lord, classical guitarist. Students are preparing an interactive Evening Prayer liturgy incorporating nature photography.
  • Worship planning teams begin meeting in February, exploring multicultural/bilingual expressions, contemplative prayer, ecumenical resources, liturgical design, and intergenerational worship.

Next week, we will release a new video, The Way of the Cross, featuring my original music and images by affiliated faculty member Margaret Adams Parker. Appropriate for use by parishes, groups, and individuals for prayer and meditation, the video will be available free of charge through Lifelong Learning. We will view it together on Fridays in Lent as we pray the Stations of the Cross.

Worship grounds us in these uncertain times and equips us for our ministries. Let us renew our commitment to daily prayer, worship, and the holy work of healing and reconciliation.

Marty Wheeler Burnett, D.Min.
Acting Associate Dean of Chapel
Associate Professor of Church Music
Director of Chapel Music

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