Friday, October 22, 2010

The Loss of the VTS Chapel

Today at 3:55 p.m EST (12:55 p.m. my time) the chapel at Virginia Theological Seminary, my alma mater, burned to the ground. While it is true that it appears as merely bricks and mortar, the chapel  has been a special place ever since it was built 129 years go.  All of the usual things are thought and said--"it was only a building," they will rebuild," and "thank God no one was hurt." All are true. However, they do not lessen the sadness I feel on this night. Unlike some others, I was neither married nor ordained in that chapel. Yet I spent three years praying there each day in the fourth pew back on the right-hand side, looking at all of the memorial plaques from those who had gone before, listening to the organ, and allowing the decades of history to seep into my soul. The chapel is literally a shell of its formal self now, and I grieve its loss.


Susie C. said...

That beautiful old chapel means so much to so many. My daughter Lindsey is crushed by the thought that the beautiful old Steinway piano that she loved so much is surely ruined. It meant so much to her to be able to go in occasionally and have the sheer joy of playing that piano. She really loved the way it looked and the feel of the keys.
As for the chapel, I felted blessed to see the outer brick shell still standing. The chapel as we know it is no longer the same but it will be transformed and its history will continue.

Keith said...

Thanks for your blog. I graduated 2001 and your words are right. I will remember the night that I had my special needs daughter baptized in that chapel. By the way I am the former rector of St. Andrew's Ben Lomond.

Fr. Keith Johnson VTS '01

Christy said...

Hey Tom, Yeah, it's been hard to explain the saddness. It is "just a building" and thank God no one was hurt. But it was an important and God-filled building in the lives of soo many for soo long. Thanks for your post.

revdot said...

Thank you for this, Tom. I had not had time over the weekend to truly check all but urgent email and just learned of the fire today (Tues.). I am shocked and very sad.
Dorothy Hartzog VTS '94

charles said...

The loss of history and tradition is usually irreplaceable. But who else will sorely miss it? I'm glad you have a profound sense of tradition w/ respect to this chapel. I can surely empathize the loss. Move not the ancient landmarks.