Following a tradition started by a student in 1965, more than 2,000 people gathered for the annual Christmas Lovefeast and Candlelight Service in Wait Chapel Sunday night.
Students taking a break from studying for exams joined faculty, staff, alumni and community members to hear the Handbell Choir, the Flute Choir, the Concert Choir and a Moravian band.
Chaplain Tim Auman led the service, which featured a message by Gail R. O’Day, dean of the School of Divinity.
O’Day’s sermon focused on peace and the potential for unity, “You are sitting together row upon row, the powerful and the vulnerable, the triumphant and the struggling, the ‘I can’t make ends meet’ and the ‘I got it made,’ the upbeat and the downtrodden, the timid and the brave, friend and foe. One community…”
Ninety gallons of coffee and 175 dozen yeast buns were served. As candlelight filled the chapel toward the end of the service, the crowd sang, “Joy to the World” and the traditional Moravian carol “Morning Star.”
The Christmas Lovefeast and Candlelight Service is a custom that originated in Europe in 1747. The first lovefeast in North Carolina was held on the evening of the arrival of the Moravians at Bethabara in 1753.
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