Spiritual Development rolls out chapel changes
On Friday, Aug. 31, Director of Chapel Programs, Lisa Ishihara, explains the new 2012-2013 chapel policies. | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES
Though the gym stood empty on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings this summer, Spiritual Development and related departments were far from idle; they altered make-up policies, formed new visions for chapel and hired a new associate dean.
Chapel team expands
The Chapel Programs team grew significantly, adding three new full-time employees. The new associate dean of Spiritual Development is Lisa Igram; she moved into her new job in July after working as an office manager in Career Development since 2009. Igram is not the only new face. Chad Miller, formerly an adjunct professor at Talbot, is now the director of Spiritual Formation. Michael Ahn, a Talbot alumnus, is the assistant director of Chapel Programs: Worship and Formation.
Those who were once on the chapel board are now referred to as student interns and are a part of Spiritual Development, according to dean of Spiritual Development Todd Pickett.
Conference and chapel make-up policies move forward
Chapel and conference credit make-up form policies have changed; they are now due the last day of classes, or, the Friday before finals, according to Pickett. For this semester, that is Friday, Dec. 14. Under the previous policy, chapel credit and conference make-up forms were due several weeks after the end of the semester.
Spiritual Development moved the deadline for practical and philosophical reasons, according to Pickett. Many students were confused by the old deadline format, especially since they were often mailing in make-ups from great distances, he said. Beyond that, the department wants to encourage students to view chapel as an integral part of their education to be experienced throughout the 15 weeks of the semester — not packed into a few days before the make-up deadline.
“We are trying to move students into a rhythm of weekly opening to the word and wisdom in a chapel context,” Pickett said.
As news of the change spread, reactions formed across the spectrum. Some felt the change was not in students’ best interest.
“To put pressure on the hardest time of the semester seems uncharitable,” said senior music composition major Ryan Keene.
Other students were not troubled by the news. Sophomore film major Chad Westwick is not concerned about completing his makeups by the deadline.
“[Some] people are lazy that way,” Westwick said of students who struggle to complete their make-ups on time.
Staff and student leaders encourage a change in name
Two nomenclature changes have been made — one by students and one by staff. The student leaders of the Sunday night music and worship session, Singspiration, are urging the campus to drop the oft-used nickname Singspo.
“In order to better reflect our character and purpose as a chapel, we have decided to make a conscious effort to reestablish the full name, ‘Singspiration,’ acknowledging that true worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23) is not only an offering of our lips (Matt. 15:8-9), but a spiritual act of presenting one’s whole self as an offering to God and His life-giving work in us (Rom. 12:1-2),” the student leaders of Singspiration wrote in an email to Director of Chapel Programs Lisa Ishihara and other campus leaders.
Spiritual Development is opting to call the 30-hour chapel requirement per semester spiritual development credit, rather than chapel credit. “Chapel credit” is a narrow term that does not adequately capture the nature of all the different sessions available for fulfilling this requirement, according to Ahn.
Ishihara desires that students learn to be discerning as to which spiritual development credits God may be calling them to experience.
“We recognize that chapel is just one piece of that [spiritual development], but that’s there more,” she said.
Some students, including Westwick, feel the name change makes sense and agree that it gives a clearer definition of the alternate chapel forms. Others aren’t particularly fazed by the change.
“My spirit isn’t any less developed based on the name,” said freshman music and worship major Garrett Hazen.
The name change has not yet been formally rolled out, according to Igram.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday chapels to gain structure
The big chapels on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 9:30 a.m. will be more structured and coordinated this year.
“We’ve come up with three key values that we are holding to; that would be word, wisdom and worship,” Ishihara said.
Mondays will be “word” chapels, focusing on the exposition of biblical texts, according to Ahn.
Beginning Sept. 21, Fridays will be “dwelling” chapels thematically linked to Monday’s message and may eventually be held in the more intimate venue of Sutherland Auditorium, according to Pickett.
“We want to focus on growing and expanding our understanding of worship, so that would be in musical and non-musical ways,” Ishihara said.
Wednesdays may or may not be linked with the other two days, according to Pickett. They will be “wisdom” chapels focusing on “areas of growth and lived-out truth that are helpful for our students,” Ishihara said.
AfterDark changes location
AfterDark has moved from its traditional home, Calvary Chapel, to the larger Sutherland Auditorium entirely because of space issues, according to Ahn.
“We were turning hundreds of students away for at least the last three to four weeks of chapel [last semester],” Ishihara said. “I don’t want to not allow students to go to chapel.”