Class of 1985 remembers “saints” at 25th reunion worship

By Whitney Waller ’13 M.Div.

The Class of 1985 worship service in Marquand Chapel on the first day of Convocation & Reunions 2010 began with an invitation to observe “the faces that were and the faces that are.”  Twenty-five years removed from Marquand as a place of daily worship in their lives, members of the 25th reunion class gathered in the chapel to recall members of their YDS community who are now deceased, but whose legacy as authentic, faithful people lives on.

Class of 85Eleven saints who contributed to the YDS community as students, faculty, or staff were celebrated during the service.  In sharing remembrances of a wide range of community members, the class of 1985 affirmed the diversity of the ministries they discovered in one another, a sentiment the Rt. Rev. James E. Curry, bishop suffragan of Connecticut, emphasized while presiding over the service.

Some students were remembered for their quirkier attributes, like Marcia Lapp ’84 M.Div., who simultaneously provided fellow students with affordable haircuts and ministerial counsel in the dorm hall.  Also remembered for his good humor was Gorman Houston ’85 M.Div., whose impressions of former New Testament professor David Lull’s facial expressions and hand gestures continue to elicit laughter when discussed. Sam Todd ’84 Div. and Brad Ableson ’85 M.Div. were also remembered for the warmth they added to the YDS community.

Former faculty Jim Annand, Gay Noyce, Martha Dewey and Robert Clyde Johnson were all described as saints gifted with the ability to inform students both academically and spiritually.  Smiles were exchanged as the students recollected Johnson’s pairing of Christian Doctrine classes with fudge.  Heads nodded in agreement as both Noyce and Annand were lauded for the inspiration their faith provided for students.  As a professor of preaching, Dewey helped students find their voices while providing unforgettable encouragement.

Staff members Jill Bigwood and Walter Kolodziej were remembered as integral people in the YDS community.  Bigwood served as registrar.  Kolodziej worked as a janitor at YDS and was remembered as a friendly man who interacted with the students regularly.

Jeffrey Oak ’85 M.Div., ’86 S.T.M., ’96 Ph.D. described those honored as having shown others “the face of God.”

The worship service provided a time for personal and communal reflection on how YDS personalities continue to impact and inform present and future ministries for the classmates who had an opportunity to learn together.