By Kelsi Peace, Features Editor
Students who love, hate or merely tolerate Chapel can offer weekly critiques and suggestions for Chapel – they just have to apply.
Dr. Wayne Barnard, university dean of spiritual formation and assistant professor of family sciences, will select a 12-member Chapel Advisory Council for the 2007-2008 school year from students who fill out applications.
“I hope the students on this council will be committed to prayer, to seeking the Lord’s leading and to being a voice for the ACU student body with respect to the spiritual needs and concerns of students that need to be addressed in Chapel programming in meaningful and relevant ways,” Barnard said in e-mail.
The council will begin weekly meetings in the fall, but will exchange e-mails over the summer to have some input on the fall semester Chapel, Barnard said. However, most of the fall Chapel will already be planned at that time.
“Chapel is rarely the same from one semester to another,” Barnard said. “I don’t think most people realize how much changes because of survey feedback each year.”
Barnard said teaching in Oxford’s small community spurred thoughts of conversation and community, and traveling has reminded him of the challenge to share Jesus’ message. The difficulty with a larger community, such as ACU, is to create community, Barnard said. The council is intended to help.
Some students are skeptical of the council’s ability to change Chapel. Troy Havins, junior finance major from San Diego, said he thinks a committee of 12 is too small to accurately represent the diverse student body. But Chapel does need to change, Havins said.
Chanelle Wactor, junior political science and Spanish major from Tuscan, Ariz., said Chapel needs to change to connect our generation, which does not always think inside the box. Wactor said a council has potential to affect Chapel, but it is “polling from the wrong audience.”
Her ideal council, Wactor said, would be made of the very people who sit at the top of Moody Coliseum, sending text messages, talking to friends and not paying attention because they are the ones who don’t like Chapel. But, Wactor said, they are not the people who will fill out an application.
“I just think that for all the people that don’t like Chapel, why would they apply to be on a Chapel committee? Why?” Wactor said. “The ones that you’re trying to affect and change are the ones that don’t care about Chapel.”
Others say the council will make a difference if its voice is heard.
Casey Carr, freshman environmental science major from Canadian, said 12 students should be enough to represent the student body, but all classifications need representation.
Students talk about the same issues: making a diverse student body feel that Chapel is relevant to everyone, meeting daily and being required to attend.
Barnard said he is used to hearing both new and old ideas when students discuss Chapel, but Chapel is always changing. Some things, however, do not change.
“Chapel should be one place where our hearts and minds are touched in common ways to think differently about Jesus and his call in our lives,” Barnard said.
The council application was sent to the student body April 17, and all students are welcome to apply to review and contribute to Chapel.
“There is no ‘magic’ Chapel plan or answer to engage everyone in meaningful ways,” Barnard said. “Such engagement will always be a personal choice.”