Volume 5 Number 2
When I was back on campus in early October for the fall Alumni/ae Association Executive Committee (AAEC) meeting, I found that the heart of the Seminary experience was still the daily chapel service. But worship was not held in the chapel! The basement of Mackay Center—the locus of theatre productions and dances when I was a student – had been transformed to facilitate worship during the renovation of Miller Chapel. Peering down the long stairs into the basement set me wondering about the mechanics and aesthetics of worship in such a setting.
Immediately memories of my first call had me chuckling. Surely the basement of Mackay will clean up better than Milton High School’s cafeteria did, I thought. (The cafeteria was where the Alpharetta Presbyterian new church development (NCD) in Alpharetta, Georgia, met for its first two years before we built and moved into the church building.) I left worship thinking that maybe one of this year’s seniors might accept a call to become an organizing pastor of a new church development. That enterprising soul would look back with gratitude to this time in Mackay as a reminder that rich worship and vibrant praise can take place in a space that is less than perfect!
One particular joy in being back on campus was looking up a first-year student, Katie Dillon. Katie and her folks moved to Alpharetta shortly after the NCD work began, and they jumped in with both feet. She may have been the only person on campus for whom Mackay’s folding chairs and linoleum floors evoked a happy trip down NCD memory lane.
Even so, the time to worship in Mackay was nearing an end. Walking to the AAEC meeting I noticed a large Mayflower moving van parked between Stuart Hall and Miller Chapel. The new organ was being carefully off-loaded. When we toured the chapel, it was difficult for any of us to see how all the parts and pieces and pipes could possibly be put together in time for that Monday night’s rededication service. Seeing the chapel still under construction but with the chancel widened and the pulpit now front and center made me eager to get back to campus again to experience worship in the renovated space.
One of the most exciting conversations at the AAEC meeting occurred when we talked with Barbara Chaapel and Gene Degitz. We discussed the possibility of making the chapel services available over the Internet either by streaming live video or, at least initially, by archiving services that users could download and view at a later date. Obviously this will need to be researched, and issues from copyright to production quality will need to be addressed. Even so, it was refreshing to dream about the possibilities the web affords alumni/ae to stay connected to the heartbeat of the Seminary.
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