Last week I attended the Practical Peacebuilding Conference sponsored by Emory University Candler School of Theology and The General Theological Seminary Desmond Tutu Center. On Thursday afternoon we participated in a noon time Holy Communion service in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd on the Campus of The General Theological Seminary.
This is the baptismal font as you enter the sanctuary, and it is filled with water. I so enjoy the practice of having the baptismal font full and available so that as I enter for worship or prayer I can touch the water, make the sign of the cross (if I choose to do so) and remember in the feel of the water my baptism over 44 years ago in the “Southern Baptist” tradition of immersion.
The history and sacredness of this space was inspiring. Through the Gates Into the City, A Metropolis, A Seminary and a Chapel, a book written by Timothy A. Boggs, photographed by Bruce Parker and an introduction by Sam Waterston puts it this way:
The Chapel of The Good Shepherd stands proudly at the heart of The General Theological Seminary, its red brick and brownstone bell tower rising more than 130 feet into the Manhattan sky. Viewed from the Seminary’s second entrance on Twentieth Street, the Chapel’s portal has a double function and a double meaning. It is both a central part of the internal design and spiritual life of the Seminary, and an open door–a conduit between the intimate sacred space within and the larger Church and city beyond. Rather than facing inward as a traditional collegiate chapel might, or standing opposite the main entrance to the Seminary, the Chapel looks outward, into the southern light, beyond the lawns to the city itself…The Chapel is always open and unlocked, the inviting portal welcomes all. (p. 11)
With the power of the Holy Spirit may I continue to live out my baptism each day and be a portal to those who need to feel the love of Christ.
Thank you, again, Sandra T. Johnson, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, for giving me this book I quoted above when you noticed my joy and admiration of being in this sacred space.