Over the course of these two weeks Dr. Dale Irvin, supported by the Worship Committee, will explore a variety of perspectives on the ritual (sacrament or mystery) that Christians variously call the Eucharist, Mass, Lord’s Supper, and Holy Communion. These talks will focus on the teachings of the sixteenth century reformer, John Calvin, who was the most powerful figure shaping the Reformed theological and thus Presbyterian church tradition.
Sunday January 22 Holy Communion: A View from Calvin’s Chair
John Calvin preached almost daily in Geneva from the pulpit of his home church, St. Pierre’s Cathedral, for over two decades. Both the pulpit from which Calvin preached and the table (not altar) upon which he celebrated the Lord’s Supper are long gone, but the chair in which he supposedly sat in his study still remains, one of the only remaining artifacts from Calvin’s life. Dr. Irvin will speak to Holy Communion from the perspective of Calvin’s own writings to explore what he preferred to call The Lord’s Supper, and how he saw others’ practices and teachings.
Sunday January 29 Looking at Holy Communion in Geneva from the Outside: Other Perspectives through the Ages
On this Sunday Dr. Irvin will step outside Calvin’s study and St. Pierre’s Cathedral to look at what he taught from other perspectives, starting with those nearest to Calvin himself in his own time: the Lutherans and Zwinglians. Then he’ll move on to Calvin’s Roman Catholic interlocutors (or critics), continuing to widen the circle of perspectives in various traditions and across time.
Rev. Dr. Dale T. Irvin is President and Professor of World Christianity at New York Theological Seminary, in New York City. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary in New York, he has been a member of the Seminary’s faculty since 1989. He is a founding editor of The Journal of World Christianity and serves on the editorial board of The Living Pulpit. He is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA and a member of The Riverside Church in New York City.