Worship

A Vision for Worship

Worship is the wellspring of life in community. In daily corporate worship, we unite with others to glorify God and to receive God’s grace, which flows from our worship to guide us in everything we do. Daily corporate worship grows out of and contributes to the whole of life together as we seek to know the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. Or, as the informal VTS Rule of Life puts it, “Go to class, go to chapel, go to lunch.”

Worship is at the center of life at VTS, which is why each student and faculty member is expected to attend one service of corporate worship daily. One of the great benefits of residential theological education is the opportunity to worship together daily, and thus to regularly bring oneself back to the living God whom we study and seek to serve. This rhythm between classroom and chapel allows for a relationship with God to become the core of studies and ministry.

VTS celebrates the richness of the orthodox Christian tradition. The Scriptures, the historic creeds, and the Prayer Book are central to learning and living together. VTS recognizes that Christians disagree about much and encourage the conversation as we seek to discern God’s will for our age. Christians across the spectrum are welcome at VTS.

“One of the great benefits of residential theological education is the opportunity to worship together daily, and thus to regularly bring oneself back to the living God whom we study and seek to serve. This rhythm between classroom and chapel allows for a relationship with God to become the core of studies and ministry.”

The Rev. Ruthanna Hooke, Ph.D.,
Associate Dean of Chapel and Professor of Homiletics

Worship on Campus

You are invited to join us for Community Worship at Virginia Theological Seminary. The Seminary community gathers to worship regularly, usually in Immanuel Chapel. All visitors to the campus are invited to join us in the Chapel.

The campus also offers many quiet, beautiful spaces for private worship, reflection, or meditation.

The Octagon Room

This octagon-shaped room extends off of The Oratory. With its tall windows and ceilings, it is an excellent place to bask in sunlight or watch snow fall.

St. Cyprian’s Labyrinth

Nestled down among the twisted tree is a beautiful simple labyrinth. Composed out of stone dust, surrounded by bricks from both the old 1881 Chapel and unused bricks from the new Immanuel Chapel, it invites pilgrims to take their anxieties into the center of the Labyrinth and leave them there for God to handle. The Labyrinth is named to honor an African American chapel that was resident on the Seminary’s campus, constructed in the early 1880s.

The Chapel Oratory

The small room off of the northwest corner of Immanuel Chapel seats 25 and is used for small services. It is home to the surviving and restored stained glass windows and pews from the 1881 chapel.

Cemetery

The Seminary Cemetery was established in 1876. It is a small, quiet cemetery, serving as a final resting place for many faculty and family members of faculty who served this community. It is a lovely place to find peace and bear witness to some of the saints of VTS.

Chapel Garden

The garden sits on the site of the Seminary’s 1881 chapel that was destroyed by fire in 2010 and is enclosed by the remains of the chapel’s walls. The brick cap along the ground of the garden is to indicate the walls of the old chapel. The garden has become a favorite site for students, faculty, staff, and neighborhood friends allowing gathering and reflection. The Chapel Garden is also used for worship, baptisms, weddings, funerals, and other gatherings. A few of the remaining artifacts of the 1881 Chapel were incorporated into the Immanuel Chapel, including several stained glass windows on display in the Chapel Oratory. The Chapel Garden also serves as a columbarium for those who lived or served this community.

Formation in Worship

Formation for ministry, whether lay or ordained, involves the integration of knowledge and experience on many levels: intellectual, emotional, familial, and spiritual. At Virginia Seminary, we believe that formation occurs as students and faculty go about the daily rounds of prayer, worship, study, and participation in the life of the community. Chapel, classroom, and refectory: these arenas have long been known as places where formation occurs, as students and faculty seek to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the Christian life.

For many people, these traditional means of formation are supplemented and enhanced by personal disciplines. Small groups are formed for Bible study, prayer, and personal sharing. In addition, many students seek the guidance of a spiritual director, with whom they meet periodically to reflect on their relationship with God and to discern the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives.