I recently got news that the communion table I built for Andover Newton Theological School in 2000 was rededicated for its new use in Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School. This was my first of a series of round tables that led me into my retirement years. When Andover Newton sold its campus in Newton, Massachusetts, and moved to become a school within Yale Divinity School, it took the furniture along with them. Last year we went to New Haven for the rededication of Sylvia’s tapestries, which now hang in the school’s hallways and one of the prayer rooms. The table remained in storage until this September.
Marquand Chapel, where I worshipped as a student from 1962 to 1965, has now been cleared of its pews and made into a flexible space that can accommodate the variety of worship services and plenary assemblies needed by the schools at Yale. It is a part of the gradual movement in churches across the country from the shoebox of performance to the circle of participation. Here are a couple of pictures of the dedication and a subsequent worship event. Andover Newton Dean Sarah Drummond composed a lovely prayer for the rededication.
O God, we give you thanks for the table we rededicate today.
We thank you for Professor Emeritus William Everett, for his ministry of research and writing and teaching that began here at Yale, who crafted this table for the Andover Newton Theological School community.
We thank you for the trees out of which it was constructed. We thank you for those who cared for it over the years, and for every communion meal served around it in generations passed.
God, we ask that this movable altar remind us that although you never change, we do. As individuals, communities, and a whole creation, we go where you send us, and nothing need hold us down.
May all those who preside around this table today and in the future savor the food you provide, becoming ready to go out from this place and change the whole world.
Feed us, and pour your spirit into us, O God; that we might faithfully follow your son, Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray: Amen.
I am peculiarly grateful that this table can now serve as the center of a circle of continuing worship for many years to come.