“A good name is to be chosen,” Proverbs 22:1a
Names are important. In scripture, names can define a person’s purpose: David means “beloved,” Anna means “gracious,” and Jesus means “savior.” Names speak to who we are and whose we are. I am Benjamin because my father is Benjamin, and so my son is Benjamin (Henry is his middle name). Naming someone, or something, is a important decision.
When the Johnstones arrived in Mississippi and settled in what would become southern Madison county, they built a family chapel, for themselves and their community, and named it “The Chapel of the Cross.” It is one of many chapels of the cross across the world, from the very first within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem to a certain chapel on a hill in their native North Carolina.
When we began to build our new worship space, I wondered and prayed about what we would name it. Naming it after a person or family or donor is not part of our Anglican tradition. Merely calling our worship spaces the “little chapel” and “big chapel” would not be commensurate with the history, artistry, and determination ingrained into either building. So, many months ago, before the pandemic, the parish was asked to also wonder and pray about our new building’s name and submit suggestions to the Vestry. The Vestry considered these names for several additional months, and after much prayer and consideration, the Vestry unanimously chose “The Chapel of the Resurrection.”
I believe “The Chapel of the Resurrection” is an excellent choice. For one, it was one of the only names suggested by multiple folks. Second, while our parish (a.k.a. our entire faith community and church family) will always be The Chapel of the Cross, I think we can easily live into having a Chapel of the Cross and a Chapel of the Resurrection on one campus. Third, theologically a Chapel of the Resurrection is an excellent counterpoint to a Chapel of the Cross. One can not experience the Resurrection without the Cross, and we would not revere the Cross without the Resurrection. So to name one Cross and the other Resurrection is theologically harmonious. And finally, to name this space the Chapel of the Resurrection in the midst of pandemic, political division, social upheaval, economic uncertainty, and so much else, is a powerful and positive statement to our community. By naming our new space the Chapel of the Resurrection, we are declaring that we are still Easter people, we still believe in a God who redeems all things and will make all things new, and we still believe in a powerful God that is at work in the world.
I pray you will celebrate the newest part of our campus, the Chapel of the Resurrection. As the pandemic fades, more and more folks are vaccinated, and we can gather in-person once again, I look forward to a grand celebration of our new worship space. I am thankful for all of the folks who made this space possible, and I am thankful to our Vestry for giving it such a powerful, meaningful, and good name: the Chapel of the Resurrection.
Keep the Faith,