Peter Gomes, Remembered

The late Pusey minister in Memorial Church is memorialized by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Peter Gomes

The late Reverend Peter J. Gomes, Plummer professor of Christian morals and Pusey minister in the Memorial Church, was remembered yesterday afternoon in a Memorial Minute presented during the first Faculty of Arts and Sciences meeting of the academic year. Fletcher University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., chair of the committee that drafted the Memorial Minute, read a condensed version to the faculty, as is the custom.

The Minute begins:

The late Reverend Peter J. Gomes once reflected that, while walking in Harvard Yard toward Memorial Church, "the afternoon sun had just caught the gold and red and blue of the details of the…porches, and for the first time I noticed that the building fairly danced in the light. Whoever orchestrated the decoration of those spaces must have known that they would have a startling effect.…The moment quickly passed but I have treasured its memory, and I count myself blessed to be working here.”

The four decades Peter Gomes served Harvard…also passed too quickly, but he was, and remains, that light dancing in the Yard.

It describes Gomes's "startling" effect on the community as "our teacher, preacher and spiritual guide; as a mediator between old and new Harvard, devout and doubting Harvard, white and black Harvard, straight and gay Harvard, Republican and Democratic Harvard…." As minister, it notes, "each Sunday he preached to the vast middle caught in that beautiful tension between faith and reason."

Read the complete text of the Memorial Minute (PDF).

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