Luke Schramm '21
Following my words, “Now go in peace to love and serve the Lord,” I hesitantly sat staring into the green light which signaled my camera was on, waiting for something to happen. Applause? People? Life? I could’ve never imagined thinking these things after the delivery of my final homily at St. Albans School.
I didn’t know what to do. The service was just over. So, I turned my camera off, popped up in my shirt, tie, and underwear, and ventured for some breakfast. Giving my Senior Homily to my mom’s old Macbook Air was a surreal experience. I am sure peers on the vestry, David Donoghue and John Benner, can attest to this: the experience of writing, editing, and delivering a Zoom homily is utterly anticlimactic. When you’re giving it, you’re just sitting in a room, alone, going back and forth in your mind between whether you’re doing something that is important (as you are giving a homily to the whole school) or doing something that doesn’t need to be done carefully (as you are sitting alone in a room with underwear on). On the other hand, when you’re giving it in the Little Sanctuary, it’s like you’re jacked up on some smelling salts and pre-workout before a big sports game because you’re so nervous. In the very least, this could be described as change. A change from what the vestry previously did to what the vestry now does. Similarly, as change in what the congregation did to what the congregation does now.
While it truly has been hard, Rev. Hundley, Rev. Sam, and the vestry have quickly adapted to the circumstances. Shorter homilies, prayers made by the various vestry members, and passing peace at the end are just some of the new practices/changes from the Little Sanctuary that we have made. Passing the peace is my personal favorite. While we can’t give the regular standing ovation after the homily, the new sense of closure it adds to the service is incredibly different, but is what is necessary to create a loving normal over Zoom. We never passed peace before the pandemic by saying “hi” and “goodbye” when leaving the little sanctuary, we clapped loudly. This applause ends the service in the same way that passing the peace does: there is no unique thing about either individual action, but the carrying out of the action in both cases provides closure to the service.
Hearing Ms. Dunn, Mr. Carroll, and all my other former teachers engage with and congratulate the speaker is a bonus from the Zoom chapel meetings. These sound waves wake me up to the reality of support from the teachers that we have here. Throughout my time here at STA, I have always admired the teacher-student relationship generated by family style lunch, small classes, and big personalities. In the same way, this passing of the peace both reminds me and solidifies my feeling of comfort given by the staff here at STA.