Evensong, Pink Shabbat, and Religious Life at Trinity

Gillian M. Reinhard ’20


Throughout the year, members of the campus community can look forward to Evensong, a program of sung psalms, prayers and canticles presented in the historic Trinity College Chapel. To learn more about the event, the Tripod spoke with Senior Episcopal Sacristan and religious history enthusiast Brendan Clark ’21.

As Clark explained, Evensong has its origins in the medieval tradition of compline and vespers, which were periods of evening prayer that signified the end of the day and the coming of night in European monasteries. These prayer practices were historically part of (and continue to be in some monastic communities) a division of the day into canonical hours, referring to fixed periods of prayer throughout the course of the day. The event is designed to be an ecumenical service, meaning that those of many different Christian sects can participate. Evensong itself has its heritage in the practices of the Roman Catholic and Lutheran traditions, as well as in Anglicanism. The event is also a showcase of the work of the Chapel Singers, who sing significant portions of the service.

Evensong is followed by an agape dinner in which all are invited to share. Clark emphasized that the concept of “agape,” or, “love,” harkens back to the early days of the Christian church. An agape meal is communal and seeks to solidify the bonds of friendship and instill values of humility and friendship in a congregation. Upcoming Evensongs will happen again at the Chapel on Feb. 5 and Apr. 22, both beginning at 5:15 p.m.

As Clark pointed out, religious and spiritual life at Trinity is vibrant. Just a night after Evensong, the Charleston House of Interfaith Cooperation hosted the Interfaith Friendship Feast. The meal brought together members from a variety of different religions on campus, including Faith Inspired Students at Trinity (FIST), Chapel Council, FaithCircle, Muslim Students Association, Hillel, Newman Club, and Trinity Zen. All in attendance were encouraged to discuss the role of faith on campus to them and share with others what “feeds their soul.” Clark added that the Charleston House organized a fantastic event.

This Friday will see the annual Pink Shabbat, an event hosted by Hillel in honor of breast cancer awareness. The event, as part of the Women at the Summit programming, will honor two Trinity alumnae, Molly Goodwin Zaentz ’09 and Lily Pepper Sommer ’12, who began the tradition of Pink Shabbat at Trinity.

Over the upcoming weekend, members of the community will also see participation from the religious community at Cranksgiving, an alleycat bike race that supports the Grace Episcopal Church Food Pantry in Hartford.

The race, sponsored by the Community Service Office, has started at the Chapel for several years and sees participation from students and faculty alike.

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