Chapels to have new leadership under Chapel Programs

Chapel leadership positions will change next year as duties are transferred from the AS Chapel Board Chair to Chapel Programs.


In a unique wednesday chapel, students were given the chance to approach microphones and ask questions of both Dr. Erik Thoennes and Dr. Tim Muehlhoff, Biola University professors. Photo by Kelsey Heng

Sarah Seman, Writer

Last weekend, Associated Students helped ease the transition of current chapel restructuring by agreeing to finance the positions of the chapel, worship, Singspo and Afterdark coordinators, positions which Lisa Ishihara, Director of Chapel Programs, says would have otherwise been turned into volunteer positions in the coming year.

These student-run positions formerly overseen by the AS Chapel Board Chair, are being shifted under Chapel Programs, a division of Spiritual Development. According to Ishihara, the change will ultimately work toward unifying the many segmented groups of chapel.

Initially, Ishihara said the transition had caused a little bit of a rub. With the transfer of positions from AS to Chapel Programs, some funds previously allotted to student-run ministries will stay within the AS department.

“AS has graciously agreed to finance the positions for next year, so we are very thankful for that,” Ishihara said.

Changes in chapel leadership positions

The restructure taking place next year will dissolve the position of the AS Chapel Board Chair, who is in charge of student-run ministries like Singspo and Afterdark, and will transfer all its previous duties to Chapel Programs. Additionally, a new position, student chapel coordinator, will be created under Chapel Programs.

“Currently we have Chapel Programs and AS Chapel Board,” said future student chapel coordinator, junior Kevin Zimmerman. “Chapel Programs is more of the university chapel department,” he explained.

Under Chapel Programs, there are full-time positions and some intern positions filled by Talbot students, while AS Chapel Board deals with the student aspect of chapel.

AS senior vice president, junior John Drebinger, believes that the transition is for the best, saying it is difficult to have what, perhaps should be an administrative duty, in AS.

“In some senses, since the university requires everybody to go to chapel it is the university’s responsibility to put on those chapels,” Drebinger said.

Responsibilities of student chapel coordinator

With the dissolving of AS Chapel Board chair, the new position of student chapel coordinator will be in charge of connecting with the various departments and students on campus to help maintain the sense of student input that was formerly being met through AS.

Zimmerman said that in his new position he will find ways to connect with the whole community of the campus.

“My goal is to meet with every department on campus as well as just meeting with students in general,” Zimmerman said.

Despite the fact that the budget cut to student-run ministries will affect chapel “across the board,” Zimmerman does not think think that students will be able to see a difference.

The Chapel Board Chair does everything from securing speakers to organizing worship to working on media.

“Chapel Board also facilitates Afterdark and Singspo,” Zimmerman said. “Those are both chapels that have always been student-run.”

Upcoming changes in chapel

Ishihara said that Chapel Programs wants to look more at the campus in terms of gender, ethnic, musical and interdepartmental diversity and see how all of these diverse aspects can be reflected more in worship.

“With this change, chapel is looking to be a little bit more focused on things like aesthetics,” Zimmerman said. “We really want to use the body and just have this campus reflect the different passion and different desires.”

By transferring the positions of AS Chapel Board chair under Chapel Programs, Ishihara said they hope to bring “more unity amongst all the chapel programs. So for morning chapels, to Afterdark, to Singspo, we can consider a theme or a direction for a certain amount of time [and] do that more comprehensively.”

Ishihara stated that all of the student-run ministries will remain student ministries, but the changes will allow the positions of worship, Afterdark and Singspo coordinators to be better supported.
“There will actually be graduate interns to provide training and support for all of the areas of ministry now,” Ishihara said. “So it is more like all the student positions are equal now, as opposed to having one student over all of them.”
“I do think that in the long-run, in the big picture, that these are good moves to be more unified and to be more intentional about what God is doing on this campus and how we can be a part of that,” Ishihara said.

She doubts students will even be able to tell a difference but if anything, she is hoping that students will pick up on the intentionality of crafting each chapel.

0 0 votes
Article Rating