-- a place for Episcopalian Students and Alumni of the University to meet --

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Great Vespers

This week our Canterbury Fellowship traveled to St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Greenwood, VA to participate in their service of Great Vespers.  For many of us, it was a first experience of Vespers and quite possibly the first time any of us had participated in an Eastern liturgy.  In the Episcopal Church, we fall into the Western liturgical tradition.  Of course there are many differences between the two, but perhaps the two that struck me the most were the building's architecture and how the congregation remained standing for the entirety of an hour, plus, service.

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church Nave
In many traditionally Western churches -- that is those that trace their heritage back to Rome -- we see a much different floor plan than we do in the Eastern churches.  For example, both East & West haven a narthex, nave, and sanctuary; however, in the Easter tradition, the separation between the nave and the sanctuary has been maintained by a partition: thus reminding us of the design of the Temple in Jerusalem, where you have a separation between where the common people gathered, where the Jewish people gathered, and then the place where only the priests were allowed to enter-- the holy of Holies.  And during our visit we also learned that in the early church, the Nave was exclusively designated for Christians.  In fact non-Christians were asked to leave at certain points during the service.

Another interesting fact:  the Ukrainian Orthodox Christians at St. Nicholas's (and presumably many Orthodox Christians) sung the entire Vespers service.  It was absolutely beautiful.  If you would like to learn more about this particular parish, please visit their website HERE.

Of course, it wouldn't be a proper Canterbury meeting if we didn't enjoy a delicious dinner and the fellowship of our peers.  So afterwards, we traveled through the "wilderness" (haha) to Crozet Pizza, having a spectacular time!  The owners of this place make the best pizza I think I've had in a very long time.  Here's a picture of us at Crozet Pizza.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Morning Prayer -- A New Tradition

Do you ever wonder whether you spend too much time within one organization?  Sometimes I wonder whether I spend too much time at church.  A friend, and current president of Canterbury, commented "I feel like I live at Church.  Not that that's a bad thing."

She's right.  St. Paul's offers a plethora of ways in which to get involved.  And now there's one more!  Thanks to our new ministry intern (who came to use from Duke as a graduate student), St. Paul's now offers daily Morning Prayer.  The service begins at 8am and lasts approximately one half-hour, held in the Chancel.  

Traditionally, Morning Prayer occupies one of the two major daily offices within the Anglican Church; and it is also sometimes referred to more directly as "Matins" or "Mattins."  Yet unlike the Eucharist (and several other liturgical services), Morning Prayer may be led by a lay person; and is sometimes even recited daily by an individual in private.  Interestingly Wikipedia's brief history of morning prayer suggests that in several areas, the recitation of Morning Prayer became a devotional exercise practiced prior to the celebration of the Eucharist.  A sort of centering service to focus the mind. 

If you're interested in reading up a bit more on this service, you can find great articles on Anglican Morning Prayer and Matins by clicking the hyperlinks.  Should you find yourself free one morning and would like to join us, please feel free.  The service begins around 8am.  After all, it is early, and this is a college town.  Location is St. Paul's Memorial Church on the Corner:  1700 University Avenue, Charlottesville, VA 22903. Just enter through the main doors on the street facing side and you'll see some people milling about up there in the chancel.  Hope we see you sometime!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Canterbury Goes Bowling!

We were originally suppose to go play several rounds of intensely competitive putt-putt golf yesterday.  But Tropical Storm Lee had other plans for the Canterbury Group.  With some last minute planning, the leaders decided to instead go bowling.

Now Putt-Putt Golf is certainly fun for all at any age; but bowling is a timeless classic that takes me back to movies like Grease.  Or generally anything that deals with 1950s culture:  poodle skirts, leather jackets, and t-birds.  Doesn't get much better than that.  

And even though nobody dressed in time period appropriate clothing, it still looked like a good time.  Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to our monthly "fun" activity.  But doesn't everyone look like they're having a blast in this picture?  Well, sans the ironic pose with their iPhones ;)!

And if you're wondering why I referred to this outing as our monthly "fun" activity, you're about to find out.

Last year -- with the help and encouragement of our Chaplain -- we decided to create a loose program so that we'd have some sort of schedule to follow every month.  It goes something like Bible study, worship, fun, guest speaker.  Although not necessarily in that order.  That's also not to say that we don't have fun whenever we gather.  It's just that we like to schedule one outing or non-brain power-requiring activity a month.  Think of it as bonding time.  Or community building -- if you're into more chic terminology!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A History of Us -- the Chaplaincy & Canterbury

Since we're at the start of a new academic year here at the University of Virginia, I thought it may be worthwhile to take a moment and just write a little informational piece about our group.  You can find the description of Canterbury Fellowship on the left side-bar of this blog at any time, too.

St. Paul's Mission
Perhaps a good place to begin this discussion is with the website concerning the history of the chaplaincy at St. Paul's Memorial Episcopal Church.  You can find the full history through St. Paul's at U.Va.  According to this information we can trace our roots to the election of Bishop Robert Gibson in 1897 who set himself a task of creating a mission church to look after the needs of the 280 Episcopal boys at the University.  Although very likely unrelated, it's interesting that Bishop Gibson's initiative follows only two years after the Great Rotunda Fire of 1895.  And then finally in 1907, the General Council for the Diocese of Virginia voted to support the establishment of a mission church just across the street from the University.  This year, 1907, would also be the year that the Diocese -- with the help additional donations -- purchased the lot where the current St. Paul's Memorial Church stands.  St. Paul's remained a mission church until the arrival of the Reverend Noble Powell in 1920.  During Powell's residence the church attained full-parish status.  And then in the 1930s, the tradition of Sunday evening dinners began after the late service with the arrival of William Laird who delegated University ministry to an assistant priest.

The building as we know it today saw its cornerstone laid in 1926.  But from the establishment of Sunday evening dinners during the thirties until the 1980s, that particular program would wax and wane.  It was with the arrival of Paula Kettlewell and Steven Bonsey that the dinners returned.  During this period Canterbury Fellowship continued meeting on Tuesday evenings -- a time to which we have returned in 2011.

Currently we gather on Tuesday evenings for a various programs throughout the semester.  These typically include Bible studies, group worship, a fun activity, or visiting speaker.  But they are always followed by a meal.  And with the growing popularity of the Sunday evening dinners, nearly 100 students participate in the University Ministry through St. Paul's on the Corner.

Thanks to efforts by our Skinner Fellow and Canterbury House "Mum," Gillian Breckenridge, we now have a notice boards placed both in the House and the Church to advertise our gatherings on a weekly basis.  Another great resource to discover us would be through the Canterbury on the Corner webpage; or through our Facebook page.  Through Canterbury on the Corner you can find a full schedule (although somewhat terminally in-progress).  You'll also be able to read up more on life at St. Paul's and hopefully find something that piques your interest.  So go ahead.  LIKE us on Facebook.  We're very friendly!!! And we'd love to meet you :)!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Return of Canterbury Fellowship

Roman Sculpture, disc. 1551
After beginning the year with a Bible study only a few days after the official start of term at the University, Canterbury convened last week (08/30) for our annual Blessing of the Canterbury House.  Each year, at the start of the fall semester, we gather at 120 Chancellor Street (the Canterbury House) to engage in the earliest, most extant Eucharistic liturgy known to the Western church:  that which we attribute to St. Hippolytus of Rome and taken from his writings The Apostolic Tradition.

This particular Eucharist characterizes a very intimate setting, wherein the participants quite literally gather around a table laid out with olives, cheese, bread, wine, and various other foods.  As we proceed through the liturgy, each of the gifts receives a blessing.  Once the host and wine have been consecrated by the priest -- who in this tradition we refer to as the President -- those gathered commune one another by passing the bread and wine around the circle.  When the liturgy itself closes, we then begin the meal.  It's a way to more fully remember the last supper with one another.

Our gathering was a lovely way to begin the new term and enjoy one another's company as we look forward to spending the coming weeks and months together.  And it's always nice to dedicate the use of a space to a particular purpose.  If you haven't visited us before and are a student at the University of Virginia, or are a student considering attending within the next year or two, please check back here regularly for updates on what activities we as a group participate in; or if you're an alumnus/alumna of Mr. Jefferson's University (& Canterbury), this place would also be a fantastic way to stay connected to the four years spent in Charlottesville.

For the Autumn term, the Canterbury Leaders have decided to pursue a theme of Christian practices.  Our next meeting will be held at the Canterbury House (again 120 Chancellor Street, Charlottesville, VA) starting at 5.30pm with a dinner.  Following the meal we've planed to visit a local putt-putt golf course for a trip down memory lane!  Please join us.  If you have any questions, do write me an e-mail at spb2g@virginia.edu .  Alternatively, our Chaplain -- the Reverence Nicholas Forti -- at uva.chaplain@stpaulsmemorialchurch.org .

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Welcome Class of 2015!

Last weekend the University of Virginia Class of 2015 descended upon Charlottesville for move-in weekend.  These first years, their parents, and likely siblings, close friends, and extended family scrambled to unload everything into a dormitory in under 30-minutes or less.  Unfortunately, this reporter wasn't able to snap any action shots; but as somebody who's been through it three times, I can assure you it IS, in-fact, like a game show.  Perhaps more akin to Legends of the Hidden Temple.  That's right, I went there!

On that Sunday the Class of 2015 assembled on the lawn, facing Mr. Jefferson's Rotunda, for Fall Convocation.  This is a joyous event where these new students are officially welcomed to the University by the President, the Deans, elect faculty, and their peers.  During it, they also sign the University's Honor Pledge, both as a literal contract and as a symbolic act of agreeing to build a community of trust in everything they do.  You may watch remarks from the University of Virginia's President Teresa A. Sullivan by clicking the arrow below.

To all members of the Class of 2015, Congratulations and Welcome.  Now come visit us at Canterbury!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Orientation

Four years ago, I arrived in Charlottesville on a very similar day.  The sun was shining; the birds were chirping; and it was a gagillion degrees outside.  My father and I waited in line to register for summer orientation and then moved my luggage up a micro-mountain before starting a day filled with things to do -- things that would separate the both of us for the next two days while I dipped my feet into college life, and while Dad worried about money.  

Now I've graduated (but still will be involved with the Canterbury Connection) and am on the other side, looking in.  Sort of.  

Congratulations Class of 2015!
The summer orientation sessions have been in full swing here for the past several weeks; and during that time I've watched tides of chipper parents walk around the Grounds with their blue UREG new-age briefcases, to meet their daughter's or son's on the Corner for lunch; or to complicate the line at Starbucks seemingly unecessarily.  That last bit's a joke.  It's actually been such a pleasure watching all of these students find their way to Charlottesville with the knowledge that they're about to embark upon the most exciting, life-changing experience of their young-adult lives.  Here's to the Class of 2015 and all the promise that you all show.  See you when you arrive for good on Move-In Day in just a few short weeks!  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


In last week's edition of Canterbury, we gathered at the house to observe one of the Canonical Hours:  Compline.  I was on board for cooking this week, but luckily - since there was so much food leftover from the Skinner Luncheon - there wasn't much cooking to be done on my part; just a quick trip down to Market Street Market for salad garnishments.  When I got back, after taking the No.7 downtown, I found a bunch of Canterburians outside, diligently and lovingly working on our vegetable garden.  Our hope is to be able to use some of the produce from the patch to feed Canterbury.  There's even been talk about getting a rain-barrel to collect water for the summertime!

After a bit of evening prayer, we ate and then went straight into Compline.  Lots of praying and bible-ing, but afterwards I think we all felt very relaxed and ready to face whatever deadlines we still had for the evening.