Saturday, March 28, 2009


New Haven, 245pm

Here at Yale for the Fenno Heath memorial service at Battell Chapel, a place with many memories for this Old Blue.

Situated at the southeast corner of the Old Campus, the chapel was a short stroll from my freshman dorm. Back in the day, I attended Sunday services here, not to worship God but to sit in awe of the sermons of Rev William Sloan Coffin and other prominent preachers. Eventually drifted away from that ritual, as I did from all organized religious worship. But the memory of being part of a political, intellectual, and social movement much much larger than I had ever imagined sticks with me. The gruff New England half patrician half dockworker voice so characteristic of Coffin rings out in my memory.

Fenno was front and center in my life as well in those years. I memorialized him in a post here months ago. This memorial service has been on my calendar for quite some time.


On the way back to NYC. Warm glows and gratitude. Glad I went.

It was a music-filled event from start to finish. I felt a chill as the Yale Glee Club undergraduates entered and filed up the aisle as we all sang 'Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past', a hymn I must have heard a hundred times during my undergrad years.

Even some of the eulogies were sung, notably one by Fenno's daughter, who composed a song for the occasion. Older alumni groups sang, the Glee Club sang, the Whiffenpoofs sang (and I and about 2 dozen whiff alumni sang the whiff song along with them). Fenno's grandson gave one of the finest eulogies I have ever heard.

On to more music tonight with the Stonewall Chorale.

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