By Jaci Schneider, Opinion Editor
Although original plans for Thursday Chapel never materialized this semester, coordinators said they hope to offer one special Chapel in Chapel on the Hill or Hart Auditorium in the spring, as well as small-group Chapels.
Chapel has met in Moody Coliseum on Thursdays this semester even though coordinators had planned to have community-formation Chapels in three locations in addition to small-group Chapels. The locations proved too small for the number of students attending on Thursdays.
The new Thursday Chapel next semester will allow only a few hundred people to attend who are not in a small group.
“Once the room is full, people will either have to miss Chapel, or they will join a small group,” said Dr. Wayne Barnard, dean of Campus Life, in an e-mail.
Barnard said Mark Lewis, director of spiritual life and student ministries, will possibly lead Thursday Chapel next semester.
The three community-formation Chapels were supposed to be in Biblical Studies Building Room 114, Hart Auditorium and Cullen Auditorium; however, space in the three locations is limited, and attendance in Moody didn’t reach small enough numbers until too late in the semester, said Shane Hughes, Chapel coordinator.
On average this semester, about 1,370 students have attended Chapel in Moody on Thursdays, which Hughes said has gone well.
Because of the attendance, coordinators combined the three planned ideas for community-formation Chapels into the themes covered in Chapel in Moody.
“We rotated the three different ideas in and out of Moody,” Hughes said.
Professors and ministers gave testimonies of their faith and shared personal stories with students who met in Moody, Barnard said.
“Since we have been talking this semester about Life in the Spirit,” Barnard said, “it made sense to hear from people how God has worked such transformation in their lives. I think this has been a great thing.”
Hughes said he hopes to emphasize small-group Chapel next semester, at a time when more students will attend one because of Spring Break Campaigns.
“We want to encourage small-group Chapel and encourage new leadership in the student body,” Hughes said. “We’re going to try to move away from putting emphasis on Moody.”
This semester, 43 small-group Chapels met on Thursday, plus 30 Spring Break Campaign Chapels, which began early in November.
Hughes said small-group Chapels are important because people get to know each other; they learn names, meet new people and form bonds.
Barnard also stressed the importance of the community formed by small-group Chapel.
“These are excellent opportunities for students to be in fellowship in more intimate and sometimes meaningful ways,” Barnard said.