Letter from Chapel Director- Rev. Michael Riggs

August 25, 2010

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, Colleagues, and Friends,

Greetings on behalf of Brite Divinity School and welcome to the new semester!  It has been wonderful to meet so many of our new students and to see the familiar faces of our current students once again.  May this semester be one of challenge and blessing as we work toward a greater understanding of our faith, our calling, and our relationship to one another in service to God.

Amid the excitement of new beginnings are several weekly opportunities to draw together and share in the Spirit.  Communal worship is a time when we can let go of our busy schedules and find sanctuary in the presence of God.  Some services may seem very familiar, some may seem very different. Some may resonate deeply within us and some may challenge our assumptions and expectations.  Through these opportunities, God invites us to explore, learn, and grow through sharing in worship together.

On Tuesday mornings at 11:00 a.m. the Brite community gathers in Robert Carr Chapel for a service of Word and Table.  This is an important time for us to offer praise and thanksgiving, feasting upon the Word of God through song and scripture, sermon and sacrament, and sending forth.  The service features some of the best and brightest preachers from our student body, faculty, and staff as well as invited guests from the local and national communities.  “Brite Chapel” follows the liturgical year alongside special observances celebrating our diversity of faith.  It is about an hour in length, and all are invited.

On Wednesdays from 12:15-12:45 p.m. there is a mid-week Eucharist led by our Episcopal Studies Program and open to all.  Held in the chancel of Robert Carr Chapel, this is a wonderful opportunity to draw upon the depth of liturgical tradition and spirituality found with the Book of Common Prayer. Fr. Fred Barber and others share a brief homily and preside at this service of Holy Communion.

On Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. we have the opportunity to create a new tradition at Brite.  We are beginning a time of informal evening worship centered around a common meal with songs of praise, moments for prayer, and meditation on scripture.  This is a chance to center oneself in God at the end of a work day and before evening classes or studies.  All are invited to join in Weatherly Hall for this brief “agape feast” and we hope that you will bring your own traditions of worship and spiritual practices to share with us and even lead us in this new time of worship as the Brite community.

Our first worship service of the academic year, Brite Convocation, will be this next Tuesday (8/31) when Dean Nancy Ramsay will address the gathered community of students, faculty, staff, and invited guests.  We will be joined by TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini who will bring greetings on behalf of TCU, and Brite President D. Newell Williams will preside at the Table as we gather together in becoming the Body of Christ thorugh the sharing of bread and cup.

Finally, there are many opportunities to participate in worship through providing music, leading prayer and litanies, reading scripture, and serving communion.  if you are interested in being a part of the worship leadership at Brite, please contact me at this email address.  You can also keep up with the latest information on worship opportunities at Brite on Twitter (http://twitter.com/britechapel), Facebook (http://facebook.com/britedivinity), and our blog “On the Brite Side” (http://britesa.wordpress.com).

We have all come to this place that we know as Brite Divinity School in response to God’s call to ministry.  May we discover during our time together not only the discipline of academic scholarship and the deep mysteries of knowledge that we seek but also the presence of the Spirit that continues to weave us into the great tapestry of faith and create us anew as witnesses to God’s reign of love and ambassadors of the gospel.  For such an act of grace and goodness, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving, and we hope that you will join us in worship.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Rev. Michael N. Riggs
Director of Chapel
Brite Divinity School