Sunday, October 24, 2010

One Last Video of the Chapel Fire…

The Seminary Chapel, which was consecrated in 1881, was largely a wooden structure, so the flames moved quite quickly.



Catastrophic Fire at Virginia Seminary Chapel

Many warm thanks for all the messages that I, and the Seminary, have received conveying concern and support and care! The VTS Chapel is now on Facebook: click here.

Here is an excerpt from Prof. Bob Prichard’s reflections on the loss of our chapel, published online today:

There were, however, many things that were lost in the fire.  What I will most miss are those reminders of generations of outgoing students who served in foreign mission.  Three particular elements come to mind:  1) The altar rail, made from wood brought from Liberia, where John Payne (VTS 1836) served as the first bishop.  2) the stunning Tiffany Windows in the liturgical North transept, depicting Paul making a case for the Gospel before King Agrippa and Queen Bernice, they were given by Mrs. Henry B. Gilpin in thanksgiving for the life of William Cabel Brown (VTS 1891) who went from Virginia Seminary to serve as one of founder of the Episcopal Church in Brazil.  3) The window over the altar depicting Christ’s Great commission with the inscription “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.”  A gift of Mrs. S. F. Houston of Philadelphia, it has inspired generations of worshippers.

In the near future, we will be without a chapel.  It is likely that we will return to our historic practice of dedicating an alternative space as a “prayer hall” in which worship can be held.  This is not the first time that Virginia Theological Seminary has been without a chapel.  Our first chapel building (1839-40) fell into such disrepair during and after the Civil War that it was finally condemned for use in 1879.  The current building was not completed until 1881.  In the intervening years, members of the community continued, however, to gather for prayer and continued to prepare themselves for service to Christ in the world.


Blogger Targuman said...

I just heard! I am so sorry. Good friends of ours were married within the chapel, as countless hundreds, I am sure. We can rejoice in the beautiful past and be thankful that the church is so much more than a structure. (As much as we will miss this beautiful structure.)

Sun Oct 24, 11:46:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger S and C said...

Chris, It is wonderful to hear from you, and received your words of sympathy and care! The whole thing is quite beyond words!

Sun Oct 24, 01:06:00 PM GMT-5  

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