The Rev. Matthew Ichihashi Potts, Ph.D, Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church, Plummmer Professor of Christian Morals, Faculty of Divinity. Photo by Stephaine Mitchell, Harvard Gazette.
Dear friends of the Memorial Church,
I’m writing to you in late July from Paris, where I recently preached at the American Cathedral, and where last week the temperature hovered above one hundred degrees for several days. My family and I here are grateful the weather has cooled, but the recent heat waves across Europe, North America, and East and South Asia are grim reminders of a worsening climate emergency.
This year we are focusing much of our programming upon repenting for and responding to the climate crisis. We will host a four part series of Noble Lectures during the academic year, each addressing apocalyptic emergency as its theme. Two of the lectures are scheduled for this fall. John Green, author of the beautiful, best-selling book “The Anthropocene Reviewed,” will be our lecturer on October 14. Norman Wirzba, Gilbert Rowe Professor of Theology at Duke University, will speak to us on November 10. This year we will also partner with both the Harvard University Center for the Environment and Harvard Divinity School to address the grief and anxiety that accompanies climate crisis. Our Faith and Life forums this fall will also focus on apocalypse in scripture, theology, and beyond. In the spring several students and I will make a climate pilgrimage to Iceland, where glaciers are rapidly melting, and we will begin gathering and preparing our pilgrims during the fall term.
Our music department is also planning a full schedule of events this fall. Please join us for a Harvard University Choir Reunion at the 11 a.m. service on Sunday, October 30, as well as for performances of Mozart’s “Missa Solemnis in C” and Michael Haydn’s “Requiem in C minor” on November 13. The Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra will host its fall concert on November 12. And of course, our annual Carols Services will be held at the end of term, on December 11 and 13.
We look forward to welcoming you back to our sanctuary, with our new audio visual system, for all of these performances and for our weekly Sunday worship.
Last but not least, my family and I can’t wait to greet students back at Sparks House for After School Snack on Thursdays this fall, as well as to resume our other exciting student programming: Milkshake Mass, BGLTQ+ Inclusive Bible Study, and Love United Black Fellowship.
The summer has been long and difficult in several ways, with forbidding news at too many turns. We have missed gathering with you and are eager to do so again. We pray that the Memorial Church will be a place of respite and comfort to you this fall, and a source of resolve and courage in the future.
With love and faithfulness,
The Rev. Matthew Ichihashi Potts, Ph.D.
Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church
Plummer Professor of Christian Morals
Faculty of Divinity