Hope for Students
Faith and Learning Profile: Tatayana Richardson
As a double major in religion and African American studies, Tatayana Richardson, T ’21 (pictured right), finds that her academic work blends into her personal and public conversations.
Her biweekly column “Searching for Canaan” in the Chronicle student newspaper tackles topics at the intersection of faith and public life, such as the role of the church in advocating for racial justice. Another place for discussions about faith for Richardson is the Duke Wesley campus ministry, where she has found friendship among other Methodist students.
“I often encounter topics in the classroom that I am able to discuss, research, and unpack outside of the classroom whether through my Chronicle column, in conversation with members of Duke Wesley, or simply through personal research and reading,” says Richardson, a Duke Chapel Scholar from Atlanta, Georgia, who is also a member of Peer Advising and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. “I have also been able to make my faith and learning intersect in developing a deep interest in Black Theology, going so far as to base my senior thesis on it.”
Hope in Worship
Curating the Chapel’s Living Preaching Tradition
Funded by the Lilly Endowment, Living Tradition is a new online resource that presents the rich and deep tradition of preaching at Duke Chapel through the expertise of Duke Divinity School faculty, research by Duke students, and the reflections of renowned preachers. A multi-year, collaborative effort, the resource webpages serve as an introduction to, and a pedagogical tool for, the Duke Chapel Recordings digital archive; hosted on the Duke Libraries website, the online archive contains more than 3,000 videos, audio recordings, and manuscripts of sermons given at the Chapel from 1946 to 2002. One offering from Living Tradition is a growing collection of interviews with renowned preachers about how they approached an especially difficult or important sermon. Watch the interview here:
Merciful Spirit, comfort your people. Offer your tender mercies and healing presence to all those suffering from COVID-19 and provide additional strength and endurance to all those who are caring for those who are ill." — the Rev. Dr. Carol Gregg, pastor to the Congregation at Duke Chapel
We give you thanks for those workers among us who do labors which are often unseen and underappreciated." — the Rev. Kathryn Lester-Bacon, director of Religious Life at Duke University Chapel
God is with us as we walk or Zoom this uncertain road with our full range of human responses." — the Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke University Chapel
May God bless you with a spirit of peace and comfort even in the face of sorrow." — the Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke University Chapel
Students Share in Worship Leadership
Lent and Holy Week Virtual Services
This year, the Chapel is observing Lent and Holy Week with the online worship services listed below. All services are offered within the restrictions of state and local COVID-19 guidelines and the Duke Compact.
- Ash Wednesday—Wednesday, February 17, at 8:00 a.m.
- Palm Sunday—Sunday, March 28, at 11:00 a.m.
- Holy Week Midday Services—March 29 through April 2 at 12 noon each day
- Maundy Thursday—Thursday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m.
- Good Friday—Friday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m.
- Easter Day—Sunday, April 4, at 11:00 a.m.
Hope in Sacred Music and the Arts
A Reimagined 'Messiah' Lifts the Spirits of Thousands
The Chapel has performed G.F. Handel’s oratorio Messiah since 1933, but this year the pandemic presented challenges for continuing that tradition. In response, the Chapel worked with university leaders and campus colleagues to present a reimagined Messiah—an online version of the concert that featured live soloists and chamber orchestra with recordings of choral movements interspersed. Supplementing the livestream was a digital concert program and a documentary video with reflections from Chapel Choir members. The performance was presented with enhanced health and safety precautions, in consultation with Duke’s Occupational and Environmental Safety Office, enabling the musicians to safely perform.
The online format was a hit. More than 7,600 people signed up for free, virtual tickets; 2,400 people watched the livestream; and the recording of the concert was viewed another 13,000 times by Christmas Day. The documentary video has been viewed more than 1,500 times.
“Messiah is one of the longest-running and most important traditions at Duke," says Michael Schoenfeld, Duke's vice president for public affairs and government relations. "In ‘normal’ times it is a spectacle of sights and sounds that renews the majesty of the Chapel and the season, so it was important to us to find a way bring it to life for our community."
"Thanks to the vision of the Chapel staff and the ingenuity of Duke’s scientists, environmental health specialists, logistics experts and dedicated volunteers, Messiah 2020 became a global event that brought Duke Chapel to the world in a way that we never could have anticipated,” he said.
Numerous viewers of the concert expressed their appreciation on social media:
I'll remember this abbreviated COVID performance of Handel's #Messiah as one of the high points in the history of @DukeChapel"—a viewer writing Twiiter
Watching it in community with so many others was a real joy." — a viewer writing on Facebook
As glorious as ever, even virtually."—a viewer writing on Twitter
This year's Messiah concert was made possible through the support of the F. M. Kirby Foundation Endowment Fund for Chapel Music and the friends of Duke University Chapel.
Hope for the Community
Arts and Activism
Photo on right: PathWays Fellow Junette Yu, T '20, poses with a yard sign from RESIST COVID / TAKE 6!
In the fall semester, the Chapel partnered with the Nasher Museum of Art on an outdoor exhibition and public awareness campaign by nationally renowned artist Carrie Mae Weems that emphasizes the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the lives of communities of color. Titled RESIST COVID / TAKE 6!, the public art initiative features large-scale banners, window clings, posters, and street signs that celebrate front line workers and also raise issues of public health and racial inequities. As part of the partnership, Chapel Community Minister Rev. Breana van Velzen moderated an online discussion of the exhibition with Dr. Marshall Price, chief curator and Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum. Watch the conversation here:
New Ways of Finding Sanctuary
For many people, their usual places for worship or reflection became unavailable during the pandemic. In response to this challenge, the Chapel re-engaged an online visual conversation based on this question: Where (or how) do you find sanctuary? People connected to the Chapel posted their responses with images using the hashtag #FindSanctuary. See a collection of those images.
Chapel Staff Adapt to Work During a Pandemic
Supporting the Chapel's Mission
Investing in Chapel Music: Mark and Elaine Brown
Elaine and Mark Brown, G ’82, (pictured right on a 2011 Chapel Choir tour of Greece and Turkey retracing the journey of St. Paul) have been Duke Chapel Choir members for more than forty years. They met through the choir back when Benjamin Smith was the music director and were married at the Chapel by University Minister Rev. Robert Young. “The choir has become our family and our congregation,” they say, “and we treasure our Chapel Choir friends and all the wonderful memories we have of rehearsals, services, concerts, social gatherings, and tours.”
In addition to serving the Chapel by singing in the choir, they are supporters of Chapel Music.
“We think the gift of music provided by the choir is a universal means to show the beauty of God, not only to the listeners but also to those of us who are so fortunate to sing the beautiful melodies and words,” they say about why they give to Chapel Music. “The timing of our gift this year coincided beautifully with the online presentation of Messiah. We were thrilled when we learned that Zeb had chosen to use it in this way, especially because we were all grieving the lost opportunity to tell the Messiah story in person.”
The Browns explain how they have seen the work of Chapel Music being especially important this year.
“Music bridges the gap between listeners and God, and offers solace, grace, and hope as we make our way through loss, illness, and social upheaval,” they say. “While we have all missed the closeness of singing shoulder-to-shoulder with our fellow choir members, Zeb has graciously provided the choir opportunities to have Zoom rehearsals, to record ‘virtual’ anthems and to revisit music from previous services or concerts.”