News November 2022 Perspective Online

Advent Worship

Members of the Perkins School of Theology community will gather for an Advent Evening Prayer service on Thursday, December 1 at 6 p.m. in Perkins Chapel on the campus of SMU.

“We’re basing the service on the liturgical framework of evening prayer,” said Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of the Master of Sacred Music and Doctor of Pastoral Music programs at SMU.  “We’re following a very simple structure in the United Methodist Hymnal, covering the theme of Advent from different scriptural perspectives.”

Following that structure, four readings are planned for the service: a prophetic passage from the Old Testament (Isaiah 35:1-10); a Psalm (72:1-7, 18-19); a Gospel reading (Matthew 1:18-25) and an Epistle (Romans 13:11–14.)

The service this year will be somewhat bittersweet, Silva Steuernagel says.

“This is the last Advent service that Dean Hill will be with us,” he said. “We’re inviting members of Meadows faculty as well. The prayer, blessings and readings will be done by a combination of Meadows and Perkins people. That reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the MSM program.  No matter what discipline you’re in, what building you’re in, whether you’re on the music or theology faculty — we are all awaiting the coming of the Christ child together.”

The Advent worship service has traditionally featured alumni/ae of the Master of Sacred Music (MSM) program. This year’s music lineup includes a Magnificat written by Richard M. Walsh (M.S.M. ’20).

“Dr. Anderson and I are hoping to transform this service into an opportunity for MSM alumni/ae to see each other,” he said. “We’ve sent out a number of invitations. It’s a busy time of year for our alumnæ, but I’m hoping that several will accept our invitation.”

The Advent service was instituted in 1959 by Professors Grady Hardin and Lloyd Pfautsch and is closely tied to the development of Perkins’ Master of Sacred Music Program.  A forerunner to this tradition was established in 1948 when Perkins Professor Fred Gealy led the Seminary Singers, a non-auditioned ensemble of theology and sacred music students, and the Perkins community in a program of Christmas music during the last chapel service of the fall semester.

The service is open to the public. Worshippers should allow ample time for parking.