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Chapel View Magazine Summer 2021 Edition

In This Issue

The voices of the choir and the prayers of people in the pews once again are reverberating in Duke Chapel. After more than fourteen months of services via livestream, the Chapel held its first in-person service on the Day of Pentecost.

“This is a hopeful step to take on the day of Pentecost when the church celebrates the infusion of the Holy Spirit—to begin to see one another again in the flesh, to gather in a beloved building, and to continue a long and living tradition of glorifying God with music, preaching, and prayer,” Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery said in announcing the return to in-person services, which require preregistration and caps the number of people attending.

While celebrating this development in the life of the Chapel, this issue of Chapel View magazine also looks back at the past year when Chapel traditions such as the Student Preacher, Spring Oratorio, Jazz Vespers, and the end-of-year tower climb adapted and continued during difficult circumstances. We hear from Chapel community members—students, staff, choir members, and community partners—about the pandemic year that brought sorrow and isolation as well as deep discernment and new milestones. We celebrate the service and leadership of National Advisory Board Chair Charles Berardesco, and also remember the beloved University Carillonneur Emeritus Samuel Hammond who died in February.

This issue of Chapel View is, once again, being presented online, taking advantage of the multimedia format of a digital magazine, as we finish out a year when the university has been vigilant about the use of resources. Hyperlinks in the stories below will open other webpages while also keeping this webpage open. To engage this issue, you can browse by scrolling down this page or use this table of contents to jump to a section:

From the Dean

A message from the Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke University Chapel:

Due to the global pandemic, we’ve been through a lot this year as a world, nation, state, city, and university community. Think not only about all of the death from COVID-19, but all the effects of the pandemic—economically, socially, and mentally. Our way of life has changed and is changing and there are so many questions about the future.

How will COVID shape higher education, the global economy, the mental health of young people, local businesses and employment, and so much more? How will the vaccine impact our lives, individually and collectively? There are so many questions that we just can’t answer as of yet. This unknown future is unsettling to many because we realize that the future we once imagined will be different going forward.

In this way, we are like the women who arrived at the empty tomb of Jesus on that first Easter morning. They recognized that the future they imagined—that included a dead Jesus—was obviously not what the future was going to be because Jesus was raised and his resurrection altered their future and ours (Mark 16:1-8).

What the women are told at the empty tomb is not to be alarmed and that “Jesus is going ahead of them to Galilee….” This means that Jesus is already in our future ahead of us. He’s in our future that we can’t even imagine right now and have yet to experience. He’s in our future and is our future and no pandemic can stop this and no vaccine can make this happen. The only sure thing about the future is that Jesus is in it. He’s gone ahead. This is the promise of the resurrection. This is the Easter hope. Our future is with him and he beckons us forward into the future God has for us even with all of the uncertainties. He’s gone ahead to pave the path for our future, even the one at Duke Chapel.

I take heart in this. I have seen that, even through a season of such great challenge, the Chapel has experienced great blessing on numerous levels. You’ll get a glimpse of that in this issue of Chapel View. For instance, the resurrection life of God has been so gracious to us through the life of National Advisory Board Chair Charlie Berardesco, who’s finishing his term on the board this summer. Charlie, along with others, has brought a renaissance to this advisory board since 2012, and we are experiencing the fruit of his strong leadership. Another life we cherish that brought resounding resurrection joy to us through music for many years is Sam Hammond, university carillonneur emeritus; his life rang out with resurrection hope during all seasons of life.

The Spirit of resurrection continues to blow hope and joy through beautiful people as we go into the future God has for us. The Chapel is so blessed to continue to move forward to Jesus as we respond to the all-inclusive love of God, bridging faith and learning by nurturing and embodying the intellectual, ethical, and spiritual life.

In peace, Dean Luke A. Powery

In the Words of Dean Powery

Even though he was recovering from a broken leg for much of the semester, Dean Powery continued to write, preach, and speak. He wrote biweekly columns for The Chronicle with words of wisdom for students, delivered the sermon for the Divinity School’s closing convocation, held a public conversation with a leading scholar of the theologian Howard Thurman, published an essay in a new book honoring the great teacher of preaching Fred B. Craddock, and more. Find a selection of the dean’s recent public remarks and writings on the Chapel website’s From the Dean section.

From the Board Chair

A message from Charles Berardesco, T ’80, chair of the Chapel's National Advisory Board:

As I write this letter, my last as chair of the Duke Chapel’s National Advisory Board, we in Washington, D.C. are in full-blown spring—and dashing towards summer. And we are seeing the impact of the COVID vaccinations all around us—lifting of mask mandates, opening of venues, and increased dining opportunities, just to name a few. My husband Jeffrey and I were able to sing together as part of our choir at St. Alban’s Episcopal, our local D.C. church, for the first time since last March 2020. It was a moving and joyous moment for us both.

For our beloved Duke Chapel, we are seeing similar events. In-person worship has resumed, consistent with the university’s safety protocols. While we will continue with online offerings, which have proved to be extremely popular, the return to in-person worship is a cause for celebration across the Duke community.

While the COVID pandemic has had devastating effects on so much of the world, I believe it has also led us to reconsider some of our assumptions and inclinations. On a personal level, it has made me think more carefully about how I can better sustain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. For Duke Chapel, it helped to drive the desire to better connect with the worldwide supporters of the Chapel. This has led to a broad array of online offerings, from worship to music to education. The response has been incredibly positive, with views of the Chapel’s various offerings skyrocketing.

This is all consistent with a vision I have tried to advocate for during my time on the National Advisory Board—the opportunity for Duke Chapel to have an international impact on faith formation, music, and worship. Duke Chapel is in fact unique—a vibrant faith community, combining preaching, education, music, and student engagement, located and supported by an international research institution committed to the Chapel’s mission and importance. Combining these attributes with the ability to communicate them throughout the globe creates the real opportunity for Duke Chapel to be one of the most significant centers of faith and learning.

So, it is a bittersweet moment for me as my board term ends. We have gone through a period of real challenge, and yet the Chapel is positioned as never before to have an impact not only on the Duke campus and Durham community but throughout our nation and the world. It is an exciting time for our beloved Chapel, and while I will not be on the board, I hereby renew my personal commitment to continue to support the Chapel and its amazing staff as they move forward into the future. I shall miss my colleagues on the board, and the amazing Chapel staff that has supported the board in our work.

All the best, Charlie Berardesco

Life During the Pandemic: Experiences from the Chapel Community

From top-left, clockwise: Renata Starostka, E '21; Jeff Nelson, D '13; Hananiel Setiawan, graduate student; and Andrew Raines, T '21.

Andrew Raines, T ’21, was supposed to spend the fall semester in Germany doing research for his thesis, but the pandemic changed his plans. Instead, he went home to Olanta, South Carolina, and spent the semester working for his brother splicing fiber-optic cable and helping his mother process COVID tests at the local hospital.

“It was a big time for interiority and being by myself,” said Raines, a Chapel Scholar and history major. “I read a lot of books, or listened to a lot of books.”

In the spring, he returned to Duke to take online classes and reconnect with friends. A member of the Duke Episcopal Center, he participated in Chapel Choir virtual anthem recordings, met online with other Chapel Scholars, and preached in the Chapel for a Holy Week midday service.

“The people of Duke Chapel were there for me this semester and that was really important,” he said.

Raines was, of course, not the only person navigating a year of unanticipated challenges. Over the past year, the Coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc around the globe, ending many lives and upending nearly all lives. The Duke Chapel community was affected by the pandemic in ways that were quite public—services shifted to online-only, access to the building was restricted, all gatherings were held on Zoom, longstanding ceremonies were made virtual, and the Chapel carillon tolled to mark the loss of lives. At the same time, the pandemic also shaped the lives of students, staff, volunteers, supporters, and community partners connected to the Chapel in ways that were less visible. From the isolation of studying alone all day to volunteering at COVID vaccination clinics to developing new patterns of prayer, Chapel community members endured a year that one person called “incredibly heavy”—and many are still processing.

Student Engagement

Prayer and Worship Around Campus

During the spring semester, Campus Religious Life groups continued to support students and held prayer and worship services. Here are a few of scenes of what that looked like:

Clockwise from upper-left: Rabbi Elana Friedman and others play guitar at an end-of-year Shabbat; Fr. Michael Martin blesses worshipers with holy water during an Easter service; Duke Lutherans Pastor Amanda Highben joins students participating in a service in Duke Chapel; and students with Duke Episcopal Center hold a service in front of the Chapel.
Clockwise from upper-left: communion during the Duke Catholic Center's Ash Wednesday service; the Duke Lutherans gather online; the Duke Wesley Fellowship holds a service outside of the Chapel; and participants in a Shabbat service outside of the Freeman Center for Jewish Life.

Audio-Visual Exhibition Highlights Black Women Pastors

Left: A photograph from “On the Shoulders of Our Sisters!” Pictured left-to-right: The Rev. Dr. Patricia Gould-Champ, Pastor Ciarra Smith Bond, and the Rev. Dr. Alison Gise-Johnson in Richmond, Virginia. Photo by Samia Minnicks. Right: Photo of Kaiya Jennings, courtesy of Kaiya Jennings.

As the recipient of the Chapel’s C. Eric Lincoln Theology and Arts Fellowship this year, Duke Divinity School student Kaiya Jennings is presenting an exhibition of audio recordings and photography documenting the testimonies of Black women pastors.

The exhibition, On the Shoulders of Our Sisters!, is available for viewing in the Chapel and on the Chapel’s website.

A Baptist staff pastor, Jennings is enrolled in the Divinity School’s doctor of ministry program, while also working as an adjunct professor and faith and service coordinator at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. She grew up in Suffolk, Virginia, where she was shaped by the ministry and care of Black women pastors in her community.

“There are countless faithful African American women in Virginia, who have been called and affirmed to pastor churches or to lead as staff pastors and community liaisons, even though they face much opposition due to race, gender, and sexuality,” she says. “This exhibition will show how African American clergywomen are leading and living out their callings within the church and the community.”

Student Sermon Seeks the Peace of Christ Amidst Chaos

On Sunday, March 21, Duke senior Tatyana Richardson stepped into the pulpit to deliver a sermon before the empty pews of Duke Chapel. A double major in religion and African American studies, Richardson was selected as this year’s Student Preacher. With congregants watching the livestream and listening on the radio, Richardson preached a sermon Surrendering in the Chaos based on a on a section of the fifth chapter of the Book of Hebrews.

“I was drawn to the passage because it allows for reflection on Christ in his humanity, letting us look at Christ in a different light than we usually see him in,” said Richardson, a member of the Duke Wesley Fellowship. “I hope that people will hear that God is always here to carry our weight when it gets too heavy for us to bear alone and that no pain surpasses His ability to help us find peace in chaos.”

Taking a Virtual Trip to the Top of the Chapel

With public health restrictions in place through the semester, graduating seniors couldn’t participate in the campus tradition on the Last Day of Classes (LDOC) of climbing the 239 steps of the Chapel tower. Instead, Chapel staff worked with student LDOC organizers to create a video capturing the history, sights, and sounds of a trip up the tower—and then handed out “239*” buttons outside of the Chapel to students who completed this “virtual tower climb.” Watch the video:

LDOC Organizers distribute 239* buttons

Christian Worship

Gathering Again In-Person for Worship

On Pentecost, May 23, congregants gathered in the Chapel to glorify God in song, prayer, and proclamation.

Clockwise from upper-left: The opening procession, Chapel minister Rev. Kathryn Lester-Bacon greets worshipers, and Pastor Carol Gregg performs a baptism.

Illuminating the Preaching Tradition at Duke Chapel

For decades, preachers have proclaimed the Gospel to the campus community—and beyond—from the Duke Chapel pulpit. The Living Tradition online resource—a collaboration between the Chapel and Duke Divinity School, funded by the Lilly Endowment—curates that tradition by providing commentary on, interviews about, and research based on the Duke Chapel Recordings digital archive of sermons and services. The resource is updated regularly with reflections on archival sermons from Divinity School faculty and interviews with notable preachers who have delivered sermons at the Chapel. Watch the most recent interviews here:

Online Jazz Vespers Offers Hope

The Chapel’s collaboration with the Duke Jazz Program continued this semester as Jazz Vespers was livestreamed in April. Professor John Brown, now Duke’s vice provost for the arts, led a group of musicians in the service, while students and Chapel ministers offered prayers and readings. Watch the service:

Student Music Groups Contribute to Chapel Worship Services

Two student music groups— United in Praise and Something Borrowed, Something Blue—made contributions to Chapel worship services this semester. Each recorded and edited performances of songs that were included in livestreams of services. Watch their music videos:

Sacred Music and the Arts

Remembering Sam Hammond

J. Samuel Hammond

At the passing of University Carillonneur Emeritus J. Samuel Hammond on February 25, tributes poured in for the reserved, witty, and dignified man who influenced so many people through his music, faith, and gentle demeanor. The university lowered its flags, Chapel Carillonneur Joseph Fala played an extended recital of some of Hammond’s favorite songs, people gathered on the Chapel Quad to hear the carillon, and the Associated Press ran a story on the “Man who played Duke Chapel bells for 50 years.

“It is fitting that Sam made music in the tower because he was a towering human being, full of grace, charm, humility, dignity, wisdom, and faith,” Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery said at the time of Hammond’s death at age seventy-three. “Sam will be missed but his musical, resonant life will reverberate in our hearts and lives for many years to come.”

Making Music Online

Given the constraints of public health protocols during the spring semester, Chapel Music continued to provide hope, connection, and inspiration through creative online offerings.

The Chapel’s choirs made physically distanced recordings of pieces by Johannes Brahms, Orlando Gibbons, Rosephanye Powell, Chapel Music Director Dr. Zebulon Highben, and others. One hymn for the online Easter worship service, “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” was open to the entire Chapel community and received more than eighty contributions of recordings of individuals and families singing the piece. Watch the songs:

The spring concert, Faith & Hope & Love Abide: Meditations on Resurrection, featured virtual performances by the Chapel choirs, including the world premiere of two pieces: "May You Abound in Hope" by Anne Krentz Organ, and an arrangement of the hymn "Praise to the Lord, The Almighty" by Dan Forrest. Students and others contributed readings of poems by Howard Thurman, Julian of Norwich, St. Francis of Assisi, and T.S. Eliot.

University Organist Dr. Robert Parkins and Chapel Organist Christopher Jacobson each presented recitals via livestream—J.S. Bach and His Legacy and Celebrating the Musical Legacy of Marcel Dupré, respectively. In adapting to the online medium, the organists created slides that provided commentary on the music between pieces in the recital.

Dr. Philip Cave, associate conductor for Chapel Music, concluded his Sacred on Saturday online series with segments on “Music for Lent” and “Passion Music.” The presentations placed selected compositions in their context and examined construction and musical language of the pieces. Watch Sacred on Saturday.

Sacred Music Virtual Course This Summer

In partnership with the Chapel and Washington National Cathedral, the Royal School of Church Music in America (RSCMA) is offering a virtual training course this summer titled “The Spirit’s Tether.” The online course for children and adults, from July 15 to 18, will open with a hymn festival from the Chapel. It will feature daily services, rehearsals, seminars, and opportunities for online fellowship with fellow choristers, organists, and choral directors from across the country. Learn more and register.

The Chapel recently formed a relationship with RSCMA to nurture church music, particularly choral singing, at Duke and around the country.

Preparing for Psalms in Dialogue

In collaboration with scholars and artists, the Chapel is probing the meanings of the Bible’s Psalms. Through the multi-year Psalms in Dialogue initiative, musicians, theologians, dancers, and visual artists are creating new pieces inspired by particular sets of Psalms. Mark your calendar for Sunday, October 3, 2021, when the group will make its next online presentation, taking inspiration from Psalms 88, 46, 90 and 91.

Among the performers will be dancer and educator Andrew Nemr. Watch him tap dance in this excerpt from the fall 2020 Psalms in Dialogue presentation:

Community Engagement

Community Ministry Adapts During Pandemic

A Working@Duke story describes how the "Faith Team" ministry adapted during the pandemic. A collaboration among the Chapel, the Congregation at Duke University Chapel, and the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham, the ministry supports people returning from prison to the community.

“Often, people recently released from prison don’t have a community around them,” Chapel Community Minister Rev. Breana van Velzen says in the article. “The whole point of this program is to become that community for someone.”

PathWays Fellows Concluding a Year of Service and Discernment

As this year’s Chapel's PathWays Fellows conclude their year of service and discernment, they held a retreat at Elijah's Farm in Rougemont, North Carolina.

PathWays Fellows at Elijah's Farm

Three of the fellows— Grace Feng, Karissa Tu and Junette Yu—spent the year helping to coordinate support for people in quarantine with COVID-19 through a program by Duke’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.

“I found it rewarding to work with diverse community-based organizations to build capacity to respond to residents' emergency needs," Yu said in a story about their work.

Leaning into Justice

As part of the online series Coming Full Circle: Leaning into Justice Together, the Chapel hosted a discussion on March 16 on “Breaking the Cycle, Restoring Community” with two community organizers. Letha Muhammad, director of the Education Justice Alliance in Raleigh, and Aviance Brown, case facilitator for Restorative Justice Durham, discussed their work around mass incarceration, young adults, and their faith perspectives on why justice matters. Watch the conversation:

Staff Updates

Left to Right: Caroline Horton, Erica Thomas, and Tom Gurin

Tom Gurin has served as a Chapel Carillonneur, playing each Sunday since last summer and every Monday since mid-January. He has received a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship, in conjunction with a Woolley Award from the U.S. Foundation in Paris, to study composition in Paris for the 2021–2022 academic year. We wish him godspeed in this new endeavor and are grateful to him, Joseph Fala, and W. Paul Bumbalough for keeping our carillon sounding throughout the pandemic. Fala and Bumbalough continue to play the Chapel carillon. Watch Tom Gurin play one of his own compositions on the carillon.

Having served as a visitor relations specialist and a staff assistant for development, Caroline Horton is leaving the Chapel to move to Israel with her husband Jack. There, she will pursue a master of arts in clinical mental health counseling, fulfilling practicum requirements at a local counseling clinic for English speakers, while her husband begins medical school at the Medical School of International Health at Ben Gurion University. We wish them all the best in their next season of life.

Erica Thomas has returned to the Chapel as a temporary staff assistant for development. Previously, Thomas worked as a staff assistant for development and also Chapel Music. We grateful to have her back on the Chapel team.

Supporting the Chapel's Mission

Charles Berardesco Has Steered Duke Chapel in Serving Students, Raising Its Visibility

The first time Charles Berardesco, T ’80, heard a pipe organ was when he walked by Duke Chapel his first year on campus and overheard the newly installed Benjamin N. Duke Organ (Flentrop) being tuned.

“It was the first time I’d ever heard anything like that, so one of my friends and I decided we were going to go to Chapel,” said Berardesco who grew up singing in the choir of a small Methodist church in his hometown of Brick, New Jersey. “I just was blown away because not only was there the Aeolian in the front … but all of a sudden there was this huge choir processing up the nave.”

Charles Berardesco, T ’80, is chair of the Duke Chapel National Advisory Board.

The decision proved to be significant for Berardesco, a political science major and marching band member at Duke, as well as for the Chapel. Berardesco would eventually become chair of the Chapel’s National Advisory Board from 2012 to 2021, supporting the Chapel in engaging students and rising its visibility, nationally and internationally, among other churches and university chapels.

He began attending Chapel services regularly.

“The main thing the Chapel did for me was focus my spirituality,” he said in a recent phone interview. “I had grown up in the church and I was a believer, but it helped me think about my own spirituality and practices.”

Amanda Smoot Shares Her Appreciation of Sacred Music, Theological Education

Amanda Smoot, WC '63, is member of the Duke Chapel National Advisory Board.

As a student at Duke’s Women’s College, Amanda Smoot, WC ’63, credits Duke Chapel with enhancing her education in two ways.

“I was drawn there first by the magnificence of the building,” said Smoot, a member of the Chapel’s National Advisory Board. But as she began worshiping regularly at the Chapel, what sustained her was “a growing spirituality, taking Christianity seriously, and then also a great love for classical music.”

“The Chapel met both those needs and helped me grow and grow and grow,” she said in a recent phone interview from her home in Radnor, Pennsylvania.

Message from the Director of Development and Strategy

Dear Friends of Duke Chapel,

I hope you have read every article and watched every video in this edition of Chapel View Magazine. These stories offer a glimpse into the depth and breadth of our work. Every day, the ministers, musicians, and administrative staff at the Chapel work to stay connected to each other, devoted to our mission, and available to you. Over the last few months, Duke Chapel has continued to offer words of hope to this extraordinary community. We have been able to stand in hope because of you – our friends, our community of supporters, our generous colleagues in the mission of the Chapel.

Your financial support has made our work possible, allowing us to continue worship services, organ recitals, the faith formation of Duke students, a vibrant community ministry, and so much more. But, it is your kind words of appreciation that have kept us focused and intent on bringing our best efforts to every task. Whether in comments on Facebook, in email or handwritten notes, online or in person – masked and socially-distanced – your day-to-day encouragement has been an anchor in this stormy year.

Thank you for staying in touch with us.

Looking ahead, we are eager to see the students return in August, Evensong and Vespers to resume, and to experience the joy of reuniting in the Chapel Sanctuary with family and friends. We know that every year brings challenges, and our path may not always be clear, but the Chapel will continue to be a beacon of hope and compassion at the heart of the campus at Duke University.

With your help, we will continue to respond to the all-inclusive love of God at Duke, in Durham, and in the world.

As we move forward, I hope you will take a moment to continue your financial support. When you click on the “Give to the Chapel” button below, please consider making a recurring gift to the Chapel Annual Fund or any of our specific areas of ministry. Please consider joining others who elect to make a monthly donation through www.gifts.duke.edu. These sustaining, recurring gifts help to create a secure foundation for the Chapel.

If you would like to discuss your giving to the Chapel, drop me a note at amanda.hughes1@duke.edu to start the conversation.

For now, please know that everyone at the Chapel gives thanks for you, every day.

Yours truly, Amanda M. Hughes

Duke University Chapel