Hard as it is to believe, next week is Thanksgiving. And then right around the corner will be finals, and then wrap up to go home for Winter Break. So it does not get lost in the blur, I want to take a minute to talk about the Lovefeast now while it is still a time of relative calm.

photos from the LovefeastThe Lovefeast will be held on December 8th, and if your student wants to enjoy a beautiful holiday celebration, they will want to attend. While the Lovefeast is based on Christmas, our Chaplain’s office has a strong commitment to interfaith services and welcomes people of all traditions (or none at all).

So what is the Lovefeast like, anyway? When you arrive at the Quad, you see luminaries filling all of the Quad, and the lighting is beautiful. An enormous Moravian Star hangs above the door to Wait Chapel.

As you enter the chapel, you are given a program for the service, as well as your beeswax candle and napkin (for use later).  The service typically begins with prayers, readings, and a reflection – and then musical performances (normally choir, bells, sometimes flute or string ensembles) begin. Following the music, singing of Christmas carols begins and the Lovefeast is served.

Dieners (rhymes with wieners) pass out Lovefeast bread in large baskets, communally – you take one and pass the basket to your neighbor. Lovefeast buns are sort of the size and shape of hamburger buns, but they have a distinct spice taste, like a hint of ginger. Then the dieners come back around with coffee. Savvy Lovefeast goers place their bun over the coffee to keep it warm. As the coffee and buns are being passed, everyone is singing Christmas carols together. Then the Moravian blessing is said, and everyone eats and drinks together.

Then all the lights in the Chapel are darkened. It is a moment of pitch black, and then the dieners light their candle from the unity candle at the front of the chapel. Dieners go row by row, lighting the candle of the first person in the row, then that person turns to their neighbor to light their candle, until your whole row is lit. This row-by-row process continues, with candles lit one by one until the chapel is all ablaze. Once everyone’s candle is lit, it really is an amazingly beautiful sight to see moment. Then the crowd stands to sing “Joy to the World” at the end, candles held high.

It is a wonderful service and I recommend it to your students – and to you, if you will be in town and want to attend. There are also Local Lovefeasts and a livestream if you want to participate that way.


— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)

Categories: the daily deac