Written by Chesterton House

April 22, 2020

What Does COVID-19 Mean for Chesterton House?

As we seek to heed the expert voices and research on COVID-19, Chesterton House has canceled all in-person events for the remainder of the semester. In keeping with advised social distancing measures, and in an effort to protect the immunocompromised in our community, our residential facilities will be closed to the public for the time being.

This is not without a deep, shared lament, as we understand that our public events and facilities are spaces of community, thought-exchange, and spiritual vitality for many. Chesterton House staff and students continue to exercise our imaginations about how we might practice necessary social distancing while maintaining our pursuit of spiritual formation, Christian thought, rhythmed lives, and belonging.

  • We continue to minister to 20 students who have stayed in our living-learning community across 3 different houses, helping them to craft new rituals of social distancing, safety, and care for our neighbors,
  • We have transitioned our weekly gatherings to virtual platforms, offering spiritual formation and pastoral care to students connected to the ministry,
  • We have co-sponsored 3 virtual Veritas Forums, such as this one on Lament, Beauty, and Creativity with Mako Fujimura, Lecrae, and Alissa Wilkinson,
  • And we are connecting students with Christian faculty who can help them to think critically and make sense of what is happening around them, including a virtual lecture and Q&A with Dr. Praveen Sethupathy on how to believe in both God and science as we process what the coronavirus means for us.

In her NYT article, I Miss Singing at Church, Tish Harrison Warren named:

“We must embrace social distancing, for as long is as needed, to protect our health care system and the very real, fleshy bodies of millions of people. But we also need to collectively notice that something profound is lost by having to interact with the world and our neighbors in mostly disembodied, digital ways. This is something to lament and to grieve. And like all grief, it exposes the value and glory of the thing that was lost.”

Glory to God that Chesterton House’s physical presence is such that its absence is felt. As we look forward to this strange and challenging season, we also look back in remembrance, marked by gratitude for all the Lord has done. And we persevere in our calling to empower more faithful living in the Cornell community.

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Chesterton House Painting