By Luke Fillers, Staff Writer
The planning, the preparation, and the prayers that go into setting up Tuesday and Thursday chapels include an extensive recruiting process. It begins with HU’s mission statement, a core theme for the semester, and then sending out letters to prospective speakers. Whether speakers are from around the Huntington community or from greater distances, they come and share their personal experiences with a common value shared with Huntington University.
“The speaker roster reflects the diversity of our campus,” said HU Campus Pastor Arthur Wilson in an interview. “We bring speakers with different experiences with the same faith so that students can connect with and can be inspired by the speakers.”
Chapel speakers are asked to come and share their individual experiences revolving around the theme for the semester. Each year, speakers deliver a different theme regarding HU’s mission statement. This purpose is to construct chapel themes so that by the end of a student’s four-year career, he or she will have heard the four aspects of the mission statement.
“Chapel is a great place to ignite faith in students,” said Wilson. “To develop their core values, their beliefs, their purpose, to reflect on the reason they are here.”
The goal in chapel is for students to reflect on their own experiences and to be challenged in their faith. This is the very reason why the process in choosing chapel speakers requires a dedicated background check to be sure his or her values fits with HU’s. Wilson must research potential speakers before sending out an invitation.
In preparation for this fall, Wilson and his assistant Rachel Hart planned the semester’s theme and sent out the invitations.
“The only conflict we have is conflict in scheduling where someone will request certain days that may have already been requested by another speaker,” said Wilson.
This semester’s planning for next spring’s chapels will be conducted differently with a new student-led chapel planning committee. This committee will help Wilson plan and invite guests for the upcoming semester. With an increase in the budget, the opportunity for speakers from farther places to come and speak is highly probable.
“Students have a high value in other students and how they change their lives,” said Wilson regarding the new student-led chapel planning committee. “Students are one of the most valuable resources we have to advance the calls for spiritual formation in the lives of students.”
Students on the committee are not the only individuals who can help plan chapels. Located on HU’s student portal website under the “campus ministries” tab, all students can suggest chapel speakers and submit them to Wilson for consideration.
“Some of the speakers this semester have been from student suggestions,” said Wilson. “We want to give students more of a voice, to not only help us to determine for us who will be speaking but also the opportunity to speak.”