Experience the holy hospitality of MemChurch

By Lucy A. Forster-Smith

Fall Term at Harvard is upon us. Welcome to many amazing opportunities at MemChurch!

As we shift our focus from summer to autumn here in New England, I am grateful for the remarkable opportunities the summer has afforded. Our family cottage in Maine provided a great setting for me to do some deep reflection on the future of religious and spiritual life at Harvard. With the newly formed Board of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life, we are poised to garner their leadership and guidance to put in place a robust and engaged multi-faith chaplaincy for students in the Harvard community. In July I joined twelve clergy colleagues from the Boston area and traveled to Israel on a trip sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston. Affiliated Minister Dan Smith helped lead the group and it was a privilege to learn so much about that region of the world. In August I had the privilege to return to Minnesota, where I lived for twenty years, to attend a writing workshop at the Collegeville Institute. Having had two books published in the past two years, I continue my writing interests centering on poetry and prayers. With excellent instruction and a group of other writers, I felt supported and challenged to craft prayers and poetry that will be available to Morning Prayers attendees and those who find their way into Appleton Chapel for quiet reflection and meditation.

With Professor Jonathan L. Walton on sabbatical during Fall Term, he has invited a wonderful slate of guest preachers and Faith & Life Forum presenters, including two Seminary Presidents, Eden Theological Seminary’s Reverend Dr. David Greenhaw and Chicago Theological Seminary President Reverend Dr. Alice Hunt; our own Pat McLeod of Christian Impact/Athletes in Action; Rabbi Dr. Jonah Steinberg from Harvard Hillel; and the Reverend Dr. Yvette Flunder from City of Refuge United Church of Christ in Oakland, CA. Many more renowned preachers and speakers will grace the Memorial Church this Term — view the calendar for the complete list. For those unable to join us in person for worship, our services are broadcast live each Sunday at 11:00 a.m. on Harvard’s radio station, WHRB 95.3 FM and archived on our website, memorialchurch.harvard.edu.

A hallmark of Memorial Church’s ministry is our music program. This fall’s program includes a very special Evensong in October with the Madrigal Singers of St. Paul’s School, Concord, NH under the direction of Nicholas White. November brings two special concerts including a performance of Mozart’s Requiem, K. 626 by the Harvard University Choir and Grand Harmonie and a special concert celebrating Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra’s twentieth-anniversary season. And don’t miss the 106th Annual Christmas Carol Services on December 13 and 14.

At the core of our work is educational and spiritual support for Harvard students. All of the programs offered through Memorial Church are for students, yet we are pleased to offer special student-focused programs this Term including football tailgates, MemCafé, and a student bereavement group. The Church is a place of radical hospitality, indeed a space of grace at the center of the Yard. 

Lastly, we are excited to present the Memorial Church’s new mission statement. Over the past year, MemChurch staff met weekly to explore and define a guiding vision for our work serving Harvard students and the larger community. 

As we begin this new academic year, we look forward to opportunities to support and carry out the essential work of our mission. From students to the wider Harvard community and beyond, in gratitude and grace we invite you to experience the holy hospitality of Memorial Church this year!

See also: Mission