Perkins School of Theology’s Annual Advent Worship Service To Take Place December 1, 2022


DALLAS (SMU) – The Perkins School of Theology community will gather for an Advent Evening Prayer service on Thursday, December 1 at 6 p.m. in Perkins Chapel on the campus of Southern Methodist University (SMU.)

This year’s worship service is based on the liturgical framework of evening prayer according to Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of the Master of Sacred Music and Doctor of Pastoral Music programs at SMU.

“We’re following a very simple structure in the United Methodist hymnal, covering the theme of Advent from different scriptural perspectives,” he said. Four readings are planned for the service: a prophetic passage from the Old Testament (Isaiah 35:1-10); a Psalm (72:1-7, 18-19); a Gospel reading (Matthew 1:18-25) and an Epistle (Romans 13:11–14.)

This year will be somewhat bittersweet, Silva Steuernagel said, noting that this is the last service with Dean Craig Hill, who will retire as dean December 31, 2022.

The annual Advent worship service has traditionally featured alumni/ae of the Master of Sacred Music (M.S.M.) program. This year’s music lineup includes a Magnificat written by Richard M. Walsh (M.S.M., 2018); a congregational response by Fernando Berwig Silva (M.S.M., 2023), and a setting of the Nunc Dimmitis composed by Silva Steuernagel.

“We’re inviting members of Meadows School of the Arts faculty as well,” Silva Steuernagel said. “The prayer, blessings and readings will be done by a combination of Meadows and Perkins people. That reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the M.S.M. program. No matter what discipline you’re in, what building you’re in, whether you’re on the music or theology faculty – we are all awaiting the coming of the Christ child together.”

The Advent service was instituted in 1959 by Professors Grady Hardin and Lloyd Pfautsch and is closely tied to the development of Perkins’ Master of Sacred Music Program. A forerunner to this tradition was established in 1948 when Perkins Prof. Fred Gealy led the Seminary Singers, a non-auditioned ensemble of theology and sacred music students, and the Perkins community in a program of Christmas music during the last chapel service of the fall semester.

The service is open to the public. Parking is in the Hillcrest Parking Center adjacent to the Perkins campus. Worshippers should allow ample time for parking. An SMU parking map is available here.


Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Pastoral Music as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.