Why a Vigil Table? Why do we gather to remember those who have died?

I pose two questions today—questions I have gotten from others.

First, what is a vigil table? In the world of the Fish chaplains and staff, it is a table set in sacred space where people can come, sit and reflect, pray or weep, light a candle, add a prayer, or comment in the journal on the table.

Before COVID, we would often put up a vigil table when there was something challenging happening in our world. Many times, too, we would hold an in-person gathering so people could feel the support of others.

COVID changed all of that. The campus was locked and almost everyone worked, taught, and learned from home. We quickly learned that Zoom gatherings don’t hold the same power as gathering people together in person when life was particularly tough.

So much has happened in these past 13 months. We have all processed these events solitarily or through a three-layered mask from 6 feet away. But always we knew—some things are best addressed with a long hug.

Now Wallace All Faiths Chapel is reopened to provide those who have campus access, so we give you an opportunity to visit the vigil table. The building is generally open from 10 am and 4 pm Monday through Friday. And a chaplain is available, should you need to talk. If you cannot be on campus, visit our virtual vigil table where you can leave a memory or make a prayer request. You may also request a call from a chaplain if you so desire. Here is that link: http://bit.ly/CUVirtualVigilTable

And the second question, why do we gather to remember those who have died?

Memorial services or funerals have been part of every culture and every religious and spiritual tradition. One of the hardest parts of COVID is that so many people have died away from family and friends. And so many of us have not had the usual rituals that bring the beloved community together in support.

That is why the Fish Interfaith Center staff will host a Chapman Community Memorial Service on Monday, April 26 at 4 pm.  We want to gather virtually and honor the collective loss that we have experienced and know the power and strength that comes when others share our grief. Here is the link to the live event:


Visit our Virtual Vigil Table