After 12 active years of ministry, Midnight Worship was forced to transition to livestream in the fall semester to stay in line with COVID-19 restrictions. This spring, however, the group is holding in person gatherings with a capacity of 200 people every Friday night at 9:00 p.m. at Highland Church of Christ.
Claire Shipley, spiritual formation director of Midnight Worship and a senior corporate and nonprofit communications major from Fort Worth, played a large part in making sure the organization is able to meet in person instead of online. As an employee for the Office of Spiritual Formation, she took on the responsibility of coordinating with the university and utilizing available resources to make the most of this semester, while following protocols and remaining safe.
“I am most excited for our volunteer ministry.” said Shipley. “People are just hungry to serve and to help where needed.”
Aside from social distancing requirements, Midnight Worship mostly looks the same as it has in the past. However now, the ministry is reaching Hardin-Simmons students and high school students, along with students at ACU, Shipley said.
Cyrus Eaton, campus chaplain, is also the university sponsor for Midnight Worship.
“We know that students have been greatly missing many aspects of our communal experience,” Eaton said. “Midnight Worship has been a part of that culture for many years and we are so glad they have been working to provide an in person, communal worship opportunity for our community.”
The entire Midnight Worship team recognized a need to meet together for worship. Clark Sullivan, worship director for Midnight Worship and a sophomore vocational missions major from Abilene, wrote a six-page proposal following Highland’s protocols in an attempt to ensure the possibility of in person gatherings.
“We realize how difficult it can be to engage in worship by way of screen,” said Sullivan, “and really want to make sure to provide safe opportunities for people to gather together in worship without risking the safety and health of the ACU and Abilene communities.”