Alternate chapels no longer offered for credit
Junior Jamie Nunes works as a chapel scanner in Chase Gymnasium last year. | Job Ang/THE CHIMES [file photo]
As of this semester, Spiritual Development is no longer offering chapel credit for clubs or ministry events, also known as “alternate chapels.”
Spiritual Development is stressing their desire to be more responsible for students’ spiritual formation. Lisa Igram, associate dean of Spiritual Development, explained that before the overhaul, the basic curriculum was diluted. She said that the department wanted to ensure that chapels covered a set of specific criteria.
“This requires an education that is both instructional and experiential, since again, Paul calls us to ‘know the love of Christ beyond knowledge,’” said dean of spiritual development Todd Pickett. “This is a specialized pursuit, a knowledge of the process of relationship with God … and offers a more extensive experiential education than academic courses are structured to provide."
Chapel policy reform
With the new policy, students have 75 fewer opportunities to receive chapel credit than they did last fall. Jonathan Wyatt, chapel accountability coordinator, explained figures for current chapel opportunities in an email — also seen on my.biola under the “Student” tab — as 146 opportunities this semester, down from 272 in the spring of 2012, and 221 in the fall of 2011.
Clubs and ministries, such as Apologia lunches and ministry-hosted movie viewings will no longer be allowed to apply for their events to count toward students’ 30 chapel credits per semester.
Pickett and Igram emphasized that it was not Spiritual Development’s stance to say that the alternate chapels are unimportant.
The popular A Call to Manhood chapels on campus — also known as “man chapels” and organized by Matthew Hooper, associate dean of students — are one event that will no longer give chapel credits for attendance. Igram, however, stressed the department’s admiration nonetheless.
“We fully support what Matthew [Hooper] is doing,” Igram said.
Some students do not seem to be affected by the change in policy.
“I never used to go to those because I was always busy with school or work, so it really doesn't affect me,” said Spencer Lee, a junior pre-physical therapy major.
Lee said that his favorite chapels were AfterDark, Singspiration and the Monday, Wednesday and Friday chapels, for which Chapel Programs still offers credit. Fives and Talbot chapels, as well as departmental chapels and Sabbathing, also still receive credit.
Goal of developing spirituality alongside academia
Chapel Programs has organized the Monday, Wednesday and Friday chapels this year to reflect this desire for a more experiential education. Chapel Programs’ mission statement for the year is: “Training students in mind and character through Word, Wisdom, and Worship.” Each of the above days of the week focus on the respective category of the day.
The staff of Spiritual Development wants students to leave Biola with a comprehensive view of Spiritual Formation in all areas of life from hearing a balance of chapel messages. A pamphlet put out by Chapel Programs explains this year’s chapel values.
“Wisdom chapels focus on biblically-relevant wisdom in the areas of: Spiritual Development, Christian Living, Missions and Evangelism, Justice, Racial Reconciliation, Apologetics, and Arts and Culture,” according to the pamphlet.
Igram explained Spiritual Development wants to ensure the topics covered in chapel are educationally important.
“We want to cover topics that aren’t covered in Bible class,” she said.