#StandingInLove vigil held on MemChurch porch steps June 14, 2016

Vigil support request for Harvard Students

Though we are physically apart, organizing a virtual vigil space may be a meaningful way for the Harvard community to gather in spirit to mourn and/or to respond to an event. Harvard students are invited to complete this vigil support request form, which will initiate the process of support for organizing a virtual vigil space. Upon completing this form, a designated MemChurch staff member will review your request and reach out to begin a conversation about support.

Please designate a single student to be the primary point-of-contact for this request.


Student Vigil Request Procedure FAQs

Q: Who will respond to my vigil request?

A: A staff member from Memorial Church will connect with the student point-of-contact indicated on the request form. This staff member will liaise with other members of the University community in order to process the request.

Q: Do you have resources available?

A: Yes. This process is intended support you and your community’s needs, as well as to engage all relevant entities of the University community with minimal action required by student organizers. Staff from the Memorial Church and the Chaplains Office are happy to provide resources including a sample vigil outline and virtual vigil toolkit, as well as to speak with you about the content of the vigil and connect you to other relevant groups or offices.

Q: Where and when can I hold a vigil?

A: Because of the COVID19 pandemic, we are only able to support vigils to be held virtually. If you would like to discuss the possibility of having a livestream or other in-person component with only the members of your housing group, please make sure it adheres to campus protocols.

Q: What does a virtual vigil look like? How can I make an online gathering meaningful?

A: Although virtual ways of connecting might not be our first choice in moments of crisis or mourning, they can still meaningfully bring people together. A virtual vigil could include similar readings or remarks as an in-person vigil and/or can incorporate elements uniquely suited to a virtual setting. During your conversation with a staff member from MemChurch, we can walk you through an outline of a vigil and discuss possibilities and ideas specifically suited to you and your community’s needs. To see examples of readings, activities, and other resources for meaningful reflection, take a look at our Resources for Bereavement and Grief.

Q: What is a typical length for a vigil?

A: This depends on the needs of your community, but typically about 20-30 minutes works well.

Q: Who communicates out about the program?

A: This depends on the needs of the requesting student community. MemChurch staff will support the student organizers in doing what makes sense for their needs.

Q: Is a vigil a religious service? Does the service have to be religious?

A: A vigil does not have to be religious. Staff will support students in organizing in a way that is sensitive to and suits their community’s needs.