Chapel options limited next semester

Students worry lack of seating may be problem after 10:30 chapel discontinues

With the increased student population, the ambiance of chapel has taken on a more congested guise with the abolishment of the 10:30 a.m. chapel. However, students are concerned that the level of crowdedness in chapels may worsen.

“If everyone attends, it will look like a seminar from the Torrey Conference, except for the fact that they won’t have 500 chairs placed in the middle,” University Chaplain Ron Hafer said. Fortunately, this is if and only if everyone attends.

“Part of the joy is not everybody comes,” Hafer said with a smile. “But we do wish them to.” The main reason the university is returning to one chapel is because there is now space to do it. What prompted them to split the chapels in the first place was a lack of classes. However, with the addition of the business building and the auditorium, more space has been created. The changes are to be made this coming February, at the beginning of spring semester.

The concept of only one morning chapel is met by some misgivings and concerns from the student body. “There’s no way everybody’s going to fit in one chapel next semester. It’s impossible,” junior Dennis Shin said.

According to chapel card scanner senior Rachel Olson, the number of students in the 10:30 chapels has already increased. The numbers are not overwhelmingly significant, but it was enough to make her notice. But one benefit that comes from having one morning chapel is the enhancement of community.

“Chapel is the only time where all the students are able to come together and worship the Lord,” Hafer said. “I am thrilled about this upcoming change.”

Currently, each week there are a number of different chapels that a student can attend. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, chapels are held at 9:30 a.m. in the Chase Gymnasium and 10:30 a.m. in the Sutherland Auditorium. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, chapels are held from 9:30-10:30 a.m. in Cavalry Chapel. However, even with the additional Sunday and Wednesday evening chapels, there are still 450 students who have to sit on the gym floor.

Junior Ashley Simmons, a transfer student, said she sometimes feels slightly uncomfortable when being in such close proximity with other people, but it’s generally not a problem. However, she would choose to go to chapels in Cavalry if her class schedule permitted it because of the more intimate setting.

Students who have already been attending Biola University for some time have noted the increase in chapel turnout. When held in comparison with last year’s chapels, it is noticeably more crowded this year.

“The floors and bleachers are packed with people when it was only half full last year,” Shin said.

However, chapel attendance may vary from day to day; Monday morning chapels tend to be less crowded than Wednesdays’, as most people try to compensate for sleep lost over the weekend. They figure that they can just sleep in and do chapel makeups. There are also larger turnouts when more well-known speakers are scheduled to speak. For instance, AS Distinguished Speaker Nick Vujicic was here last Friday, which guaranteed a gym crammed with eager listeners.

Although the 10:30 a.m. chapel is being discontinued, there will still be the other options of Tuesday and Thursday chapels, as well as Singspiration and After Dark. However, they also tend to be overcrowded.

“I have to say that After Dark is incredibly packed. It’s great, but I loved it more in the beginning of the year when there were less people, and it was more intimate. They should definitely move it to a different location or something,” freshman Tessa Ludwick said.

Despite the overcrowding, no matter how many people have decided to go to chapel that morning, there is always a seat to be found. That seat may be wedged in between two burly athletes or at the corner of the balcony, but it’s always there.

0 0 votes
Article Rating