The Moravian Lovefeast at Wake Forest is one of the most highly anticipated and beloved traditions the university has to offer.
This year’s 53rd annual Lovefeast met its high expectations and continued expanding its coverage. Wait Chapel was filled to its capacity during the traditional 8 p.m. service and the event’s livestream coverage allowed a large live audience from numerous locations across the globe to take part in the experience virtually. Some viewing parties met in Pennsylvania, California, Virginia and at the Wake Washington Center.
The Moravian Lovefeast is a service devoted to Christian love and began first in Germany in 1727 after the renewal of the Moravian church. Within Germany, the Lovefeast began as a service involving the sharing of food, prayer, religious conversation and hymns. Today, Lovefeast services follow the same structure, typically involving the sharing of a sweet bun and coffee, and the singing of hymns which usually describe love and harmony.
This year’s Lovefeast played an important role in uniting the Wake Forest community, especially in a climate so inconstant and unpredictable. Chaplain Auman’s opening remarks underscored the importance of the Lovefeast and its goals in today’s world. He began by speaking of the parallels between the historically uncertain, bewildering coming of Christmas all those years ago and the uncertain, bewildering world we live in today. He went on to emphasize that especially in uncertain times, we must find unity and trust with our neighbors and extend helping hands to those in need.
Both the historical role of the Lovefeast and Chaplain Auman’s words perfectly frame what the Wake Forest Lovefeast is all about: spreading love, strengthening the bonds between ourselves and our community and uniting in harmony. The Lovefeast is about celebrating differences, forgiving past injustices and slights, and coming together as one community.
Following opening remarks, the singing of a hymn, several readings from the Old and New Testaments and a final prayer, the Lovefeast was served. The feast included a sweet bun and a cup of coffee, and in preparation for the event, over 90 gallons of coffee and 180 dozen sweet buns were made. These were passed out as hymns united those in the chapel in fellowship and harmony.
Freshman Olivia Carr said, “I thought that the event was really well prepared for, and the feast was delicious. The coffee that was handed out was excellent, and the volunteers worked hard to ensure everyone received their coffee and sweet bun in time for the blessing.”
As the feast came to a close, the lights in Wait Chapel were darkened and hand-held beeswax candles were lit across the chapel by members of the congregation as the final hymn was sung.
Many said they were touched by the beauty of the moment and what it stood for.
Freshman Krista Bradley said, “The final portion of the service, when the candles were lit and the final hymn was sung by the congregation, was my favorite part. The elegance and beauty created by all the decorations really stood out in the glimmer of the candles. The service as a whole put me in the Christmas spirit, but in a way that made me cognizant and appreciative of the true meaning of Christmas, not just the more materialistic side of it.”