Date: June 3, 2022
When our Bishop first closed all our parishes back in March of 2020 on a Thursday night, our staff and I worked furiously to offer some kind of digital worship by that Sunday. We knew Holy Eucharist did not really make sense, as only the three people who were present would be able to receive, which did not feel right for our first offering trying to hold our community together. Instead, we pivoted to Morning Prayer. My staff was a little nervous about the change, since we hardly ever use Morning Prayer on Sundays. But I felt a calm confidence in the decision because for five days a week, three years in a row while at Virginia Theological Seminary, I lived and breathed Morning Prayer. When I read the words of certain canticles I can still hear tunes we sang in the old Chapel. Even though I rarely lead Morning Prayer on Sundays now, my body still inhabits the rhythm of Morning Prayer without even thinking about it.
That first Sunday of pandemic worship, I slipped my VTS class cross over my cassock and surplice and knew that the confidence I had in the liturgy would be soothing balm to a people in shock. When people ask about the impact of my education at VTS, I find it hard to quantify an experience that is so ingrained in my body and mind. From how I approach scripture, teaching, preaching, pastoral care, and liturgical leadership, VTS shaped my priesthood for the good. That formation is why we continue to support VTS financially and why I regularly say yes to requests to continued leadership at the Seminary – whether as a representative and officer on AAEC or being a part of the fundraising team for the Bicentennial Campaign. As I have moved around the Episcopal Church in various calls, I am continually reminded how blessed I was to be a part of the Virginia Theological Seminary. My hope is to keep making that experience possible for the next generations of Church leaders.
The Rev. Jennifer Andrews-Weckerly ’09
Rector, Hickory Neck Episcopal Church, Toano, VA
AAEC Vice President