By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
The latest Campus Life reorganization has introduced the most significant changes to Chapel since announcements were removed nearly two years ago. Mark Lewis and Rita Harrell are no longer in charge of Chapel as the office of Campus Life reorganized for the fourth year in a row and fifth time in six years.
Lewis has been replaced by his graduate assistant last year, Brad Carter, and Harrell, the Chapel administrative coordinator, has moved to the Bean Sprout as administrative coordinator for Lewis and the Volunteer and Service Learning Center. Brian England, Mabee Hall director last year, will be director of Judicial Affairs and handle Chapel absences.
The personnel changes reflect a new Chapel direction that will be more structured and include a loose, semester-long theme of the Beatitudes, said Wayne Barnard, dean of Campus Life.
“We’ve been much more intentional with programming,” Barnard told the Optimist. “Chapel every day needs to be quality.”
Carter is now in charge of Chapel’s day-to-day operations, whereas Lewis is free to devote more time to his role as director of Spiritual Life and Student Ministries. England, meanwhile, leaves Mabee for an office in McKinzie to oversee student discipline. He also will take over Harrell’s job of keeping track of excessive Chapel absences.
Two panels will assist Carter in planning and coordinating Chapel. The first of these is the Chapel programming team, on which Barnard and Lewis both will serve, along with Carter and several Campus Life officials. The second is a more wide-ranging task force started in May that will study Chapel for the next year.
Barnard said the task force was created as Campus Life took a closer look at Chapel’s purpose this summer, and its creation coincided with a Welcome Week faculty pre-session conference that also examined Chapel’s role at ACU. The result is a tighter control on what happens in Chapel every day and a new system for organizing and tracking Chapel absences.
Chapel also has moved online, where a Web site (www.acu.edu/people/chapel) details the schedule a semester in advance and contains printable forms for Chapel exemptions and appeals.
“Change does not bother me in the least,” Barnard said. “Every year there’s a challenge to become more efficient and effective.”
Chapel’s schedule now will have structure, with set speakers on certain days, set days for small-group meetings and a praise day every Friday. And throughout the semester, Chapel will use a week to focus on one of the Beatitudes, the group of nine blessings Jesus bestows in his Sermon on the Mount.
“We’ve always had a plan for every day; we just haven’t had them that far in advance,” Barnard said. “Any changes that we make are based on a broad base of input.”
Another change for Chapel this year will be the consequence given for more than 15 absences a semester. Barnard declined to comment on specifics before press time.
Currently students must perform one hour of community service for each day over 15 they miss, a policy begun in 1998. Before, students paid for each excess absence.