By Melanie J. Knox, Opinion Editor
Members of the Chapel Programming Team met with about 50 students Tuesday night to discuss Chapel concerns. The forum lasted more than three hours.
Students’ Association officials Elliott Pittman and Jeremy Gordon acted as moderators, while the Chapel panel consisted of Brad Carter, director of Chapel programming, Jan Meyer, director of student leadership development, Randy Harris, intructor of Bible, missions and ministry, and Wayne Barnard, dean of Campus Life.
“We sought to be more intentional, more purposeful and plan in advance, based on responses from students,” Barnard said at the opening of the forum. “Our desire is to put forth our best foot by planning more in advance than in the past.”
Pittman asked why students are required to attend Chapel but have not had more of a voice in its planning.
Barnard pointed out that many things that happen in Chapel are the result of student voices. He said the removal of announcements was based on complaints about the rudeness of students not listening to their peers.
“When I think about Chapel, I don’t think of it as an extra-curricular activity but as part of the educational requirements of the university,” Barnard said. “I am not required to go to class, but you are. I don’t know to what extent you feel like you have a voice in the class curriculum, but I would imagine that you leave that up to your professors who are experts in that field and you trust them to prepare that.”
The panel also discussed why Small Group Chapels only take place on Thursdays.
Meyer said that the Chapels are there to promote the mission of Chapel with community and connectedness.
“What happens in Moody when we are all together is important to us as believers, and small group is just as powerful,” Meyer said.
Harris asked the students for their input through raising of hands about class, department and gender Chapels by a raising of hands.
Not one hand was raised in favor of gender chapels.
Another main topic was that special groups are no longer allowed to present.
Harris broke the reasons down into philosophical and practical qualms but acknowledged a middle ground would be worth considering.
Students and faculty alike said they felt positive about the forum, and the only disappointment seemed to be the low attendance.
“I was actually very happy with what happened tonight,” said SA Chapel task force chair Pittman, who organized the forum. “I was impressed with the way the student body handled itself. I understand we’ve had a good deal of burnout on this.”