Sunday Solemn Assembly Honors Lost Lives

This past Sunday, November 1, on All Saints’ Day, the Lawrenceville community gathered in the Edith Memorial Chapel for a solemn assembly to honor those who lost their lives in the past year.

This past Sunday, November 1, on All Saints’ Day, the Lawrenceville community gathered in the Edith Memorial Chapel for a solemn assembly to honor those who lost their lives in the past year. The event was organized by School Chaplain Reverend Sue Ann Steffey Morrow H’12 and featured musical performances, readings of scripture, and speeches from students, faculty, and staff.

According to Morrow, this year’s program focused on remembering “all those who had been lost in the pandemic, all the first responders who gave the ultimate sacrifice, those who were lost as victims of injustice, and simply those whom we name in our hearts.” Traditionally, there is a Choral Vespers performed in the Chapel on All Saints’ Day, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s event featured instrumental performances and readings instead.

The event opened with a performance of Jean Langlais’ “Te Deum” by School Organist Tom Goeman. Afterwards, Morrow introduced the purpose of the ceremony, saying, “We will commend to the all-gracious God all those who have died, and we will affirm our faith that God is with us, among us, strengthening us.”

Following the introduction, Goeman played variations on David N. Johnson’s “For All the Saints” on the organ. Subsequently, Morrow delivered an opening prayer. Afterwards, Katelyn Ge ’21 performed “Air from Suite No.3 in D Major” by J.S. Bach on the violin. On being able to perform, Ge said, “It’s really important to commemorate the lives of people who have passed away this past year, and I’m honored to have taken part through music.”

Next, Morrow recited a section of scripture known as “The Beatitudes,” which is traditionally read on All Saints’ Day, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted…Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven…Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

The program then continued with a performance of Leo Brouwer’s “Un Dia de Noviembre” (“One Day in November”) by Rachel Krumholtz ’21, a classical guitarist. Then, Morrow, Alistair Lam ’23, and V Formers Danica Bajaj, Ava Conyer, Amelia Devine, and Soleil Saint-Cyr read a litany which was written specifically for this year’s assembly.

“We pray for those who are suffering in one way or another from [Covid-19], for those who are suffering [from] injustice,” Saint-Cyr recited. The attendees were also asked to respond to the speaker multiple times, saying, “Hear our longings and fill us with hope.”

Afterwards, Goeman performed Johann Walther’s “Choral Prelude on “Old Hundredth.” This was followed by a Benediction by Morrow in which she asked that “the all gracious God bless, preserve and keep you.” The program wrapped up with the Chapel bells ringing, followed by Goeman playing “Fugue in E Flat Major (“St. Anne”)” by J.S. Bach.

Reflecting on the event, Danica Bajaj ’21 said, “I think the event was really special because it brought together a bunch of student musicians and speakers. There was a real sense of community in the room, and I was very glad to have gotten the opportunity to be together in-person in the Chapel.”

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