Moravian student Jane Sherrill Stroupe (’67) organized the first Wake Forest Lovefeast in December 1965. Two hundred students gathered to celebrate the traditional meal. Since then, the Wake Forest Lovefeast has grown to be the largest Moravian-style lovefeast in North America, and one of the favorite features of Wake Forest tradition.
The Wake Forest Lovefeast meal consists of a sweetened bun and creamed coffee, which dieners (German for “servers”) serve to participants. During the meal, music from the Wake Forest Concert Choir, Handbell Choir, Flute Choir, and the Messiah Moravian Church Band fills the air. During the service of song and scripture reading, everyone receives a handmade beeswax candle decorated with a red paper frill. A warm glow fills the chapel as the candles are lit while worshipers sing the final hymns.
The first lovefeast was served in Germany on August 13, 1727, following the renewal of the Moravian Church. The lovefeast is not to be confused with the sacrament of Holy Communion, but is styled after the common meal partaken in love and fellowship by the early church as described in the book of Acts. This simple service provides an ideal setting for breaking human and religious divides.
Lovefeasts nourish the soul, give us pause and inspire. They transport us to sacred realms and add beauty to our often complicated lives. Wake Forest’s Annual Lovefeast can be captured in a single word – love.