Chapel News October 2012


Thank you to everyone who has jumped into serving, assisting, reading, preparing liturgies, washing chalices, etc – in other words, to everyone on the rota and all those who do extra tasks to keep the chapel running smoothly. A big thank you to our sacristans too, Jason, Abigail and Barbara, who have managed to make the start of term look smooth!

Interested in being a sacristan?

We invite your consideration of the position. If you are interested in applying, talk to a sacristan, pray and reflect on the ministry, and think about your schedule and obligations. We would ask you to write a letter describing pertinent background and why you are interested, submitted to me (Lizette Larson-Miller) by October 19.

Interested in preaching?

There are still a couple TBA student preaching slots on the rota – please sign up IN THE SACRISTY on the master rota, so we have just one person per slot. ALSO – we have a few extra rota slots if you want to jump in, check with the sacristans when they are standing near the master rota hanging in the sacristy.

Art and Environment 

If you are interested in the visual dimensions of worship, we need a team of people to help create, set-up and maintain art and environment from the end of October to the end of November (we’ll send out a separate call for the “Advent team”!) Please let me know if you are interested in this element of liturgy.

Alumni Convocation 

By this date most of you have heard that the Alumni Convocation is happening Thursday, October 11 (the Feast of Philip the Deacon). It is at the heart of the alumni council gathering at CDSP, the Board of Trustees gathering at CDSP, and lots of visitors, particularly family and friends of the two honorary degree recipients. Please consider yourself an official hospitality minister – if someone looks lost, help. If someone looks lost in the liturgy – help them! And keep an eye on the sacristans – if they look frantically at you, it probably means they need some help with something ASAP – that would be you! Also, please know that everyone is welcome for all the liturgies – they are not just for the alums and others, they are for the CDSP community and you are at the heart of that community – welcome them into your chapel and your liturgical cursus. We need help moving the furniture – please stay for 10 minutes after evening prayer on Wednesday, October 10, and we can get everything done!

Missing things, missing books, missing vestments

We are missing about 14 BCPs from the chapel, and several items from the sacristy, including cassocks and a stole. Please return anything that you may have borrowed, and check in person with a sacristan if you want to borrow anything in the future – thanks.

Space as Theology

In mid-October we will be rearranging the furniture in the chapel to accommodate the Alumni Convocation (into the so-called “Wimbleton Rite” floorplan) – if you don’t know what that means, watch the presider and preacher in the liturgy – you’ll get it! After that event, instead of returning the Eucharistic side to the centralized pattern, we will move to a processional floorplan, probably oriented toward the Ridge Road window as in the chapel’s original layout. 

Changing the furniture, changing the physical arrangement of how we worship as a community, is no small thing, and not just because it takes people, time, and muscles to move the furniture around. The space is a liturgical context and a liturgical text – it is not the background to liturgy but an important part of liturgy. A centralized Eucharistic space (such as our modified circle of the past 6 weeks) puts the altar and the ambo in the middle with the gathered community around those two primary anchors. The community sees each other, hears each other, and realizes itself in a very concrete way as another primary image of Christ. The altar as primary symbol of Christ in our midst, the ambo (and by extension, gospel book) as primary symbol of Christ in our midst, the gathered community, the body of Christ, as primary symbol of Christ in our midst – all three of these have danced with each other in a very visible way for the past 6 weeks, but danced within a circle, the edges are porous, the draw of liturgical action and attention is to the middle. This type of Eucharistic arrangement is often called the modern sacramental communal floorplan, very much a product of the ecumenical liturgical movement bearing fruit in the latter half of the 20th century and one centered on the community making eucharist together as a primary dynamic.

The longitudinal processional space that we are moving to is what many people consider a “real church plan”, with the congregation all facing the same direction. It is what many theologians of liturgical space call a “processional floorplan”. The dynamic is about movement through the space, outwardly symbolizing the church on the move, a pilgrim church, moving ever closer into union with God. It is, therefore, a floor plan that moves toward the holy, finding its roots in a space of progressive holiness, with the holiest being the eastern end of the rectangular space (even if it is ‘liturgical east’ not directionally east). It means that most people will now enter through the “back doors”, where the baptismal bowl will remind us of our entry into the church, and see ahead of us the altar. Originally these arrangements (developing between the 4th and 12th centuries in different places) would know the whole worshipping community facing the same way – ‘facing God’, as the presider was also facing east, not turned to face the opposite direction than the worshipping community.

Think about how a different orientation, a different sense of movement, a different way of being in the space changes your understanding of the eucharist. What is the same, what is different, how does it feel different, how is your perception of participation different, or is it? How do we move differently in this space than in the centralized plan? Interested in knowing more? Take a look at Richard Kieckhefer’s very interesting book, Theology in Stone: Church Architecture from Byzantium to Berkeley.

Questions or comments about anything found in Chapel News may be directed to the Sacristy.

© 2012 Church Divinity School of the Pacific