Chapel will look different for the 21-22 school year.
By Thad Arnold, Staff Writer
This summer, Huntington University’s Center for Spiritual Formation and Intercultural Enrichment announced that community chapels would be returning to full in-person capacity for the fall semester, with masks being required for the first thirty days of the semester.
This announcement comes following a year of limited in-person chapel, with most students gaining these credits through watching live streams on the iAttended app. After three long semesters, however, the decision was made to return to total capacity, according to Vice President for Spiritual Formation Arthur Wilson.
“Now, with vaccinations and the CDC guidelines, state guidelines, and county guidelines, we felt like we could safely return to a fully-attended chapel, being that people wear the mask while they’re there and take those precautions as they would in the classroom,” said Wilson.
Wilson believes Huntington’s community chapel program is beneficial to students’ spiritual development, as it encourages student leadership and involvement. For example, the beginning of each chapel is led by the student praise and worship team, Joyful Noise.
“We also offer opportunities for students to preach in chapel because we know through our research that it’s peer-to-peer interaction and engagement that plays the most significant role in the spiritual growth of college students,” added Wilson.
Attending chapel helps fulfill students’ spiritual life credit requirement. Students are required to earn thirty such credits each semester. Sometimes misleadingly called chapel credits, these credits can be earned by attending events including Forester Lectures and department chapels or by watching the Word Up Wednesday devotional each week on the iAttended app.
Students can also earn spiritual life credits by attending weekly floor worship sessions lead by their floor’s Sojourner. Previously called Campus Ministry Coordinators, or CMCs, the name of the position was changed this year, following the similar restructuring of the Department of Campus Ministries into the Center for Spiritual Formation and Intercultural Enrichment in 2020.
Assistant Campus Pastor for Student Discipleship Amanda Morris-Campbell serves as head of the Sojourner program. She explained that the name of the program was changed to reflect the nature of the program better.
“It is both a journey that the Sojourner themselves is on with the Lord, and with their mentorship with me, and with their teammates, as well as journeying along other students through programming and things that we offer in the residence halls,” said Morris-Campbell.
Baker Second Sojourner Brody Bowman enjoys the small group setting and more personal connection that the program offers compared to community chapels.
“I love floor worships. Sometimes they are the perfect thing during my week to slow down,” said Bowman. “It’s a forced time, and I need it and love it- to relax and talk and discuss important biblical truths.”
Roush Third Sojourner Gabbie Hawkins added that the role of Sojourner as a student leader is crucial for maintaining the spiritual life of the university.
“We hold the most power over each other because we’re peers,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins was drawn to the program for the opportunity to talk about her faith with others. She stated that she has appreciated being able to share those experiences with her floormates.
“My girls have a lot of energy, and there is a pretty decent-sized group that comes to a lot of the events.”
While stressing the important role smaller groups play in students’ spiritual lives, Bowman and Hawkins expressed excitement about returning to in-person chapel.
“I have enjoyed them more and listened more. It is way easier to pay attention than when it is on your phone,” commented Hawkins.
“I am excited that we will be back and that worship will be a more central part of my week,” said Bowman.