Tag Archive | "chapel"

The inside scoop on chapel worship

Meg Sanders (jr), Taylor Showley (jr) and their band lead worship in the Chapel Auditorium.

Meg Sanders (jr), Taylor Showley (jr) and their band lead worship in the Chapel Auditorium.

Before each designated chapel, worship leaders Taylor Showley (jr) and Meg Sanders (jr) meet to pray about which songs they want to sing at the service. After shooting around ideas, they leave, pray on their own and convene before making a decision.

“Our motto is that we seek God first, and he takes care of the rest,” Showley said.

Worship teams at Indiana Wesleyan University have garnered both praise and criticism for the songs they perform in the Chapel Auditorium, especially the new songs. But regardless of certain comments, the worship teams have one goal in mind: to honor God.

“We’re praying about everything … but also taking into consideration and praying about what our student body wants,” worship chaplain Rachel Rubadiri (jr) said. “We’re just here to be with Jesus.”

The chapel worship team consists of five bands on rotation. Each band has at least one worship leader who proposes which songs they will perform.

Rubadiri, Assistant Professor of Church Music Dr. Michael Dennis and Chapel Coordinator Jennifer Martin review the list of songs submitted by worship leaders.

The team assesses each song based on a rubric from Dr. Constance Cherry’s book “Selecting Songs for Worship.” The rubric’s three categories include theology, lyrics and music. They either approve the list or make some suggestions.

The topic of introducing new songs in chapel has come up several times in weekly meetings, Rubadiri said. So far, the group is beginning to “lean more towards getting back to the basics.”

“A new song can be great, but it can be hard sometimes,” Rubadiri said. “[People] really enjoy when we do traditional songs as well, and that’s something that we’ve really looked at.”

When the worship team introduces several new songs on one day, it can be “alienating” to students who are unfamiliar with them, according to Ariel Blocher-Smith (jr).

“It’s good to have some more familiar ones to draw people in and … make them feel welcome, especially if we would have students visiting,” Blocher-Smith said.

Showley said introducing the audience to new songs is “really a challenge for us as worship leaders to do.”

Whenever the worship band introduces a new song, Rubadiri said, the intent is to repeat it enough so that the audience becomes familiar with it.

Another challenge worship leaders face is that everyone on campus comes from a different background, Showley said. Sometimes, everyone on the worship team will know a song and perform it, only for the audience to not receive it well.

Showley said the worship leaders are constantly in communication about how and when to introduce new songs.

“We’re students,” Showley said. “We’re learning too.”

Showley said she and Sanders have some new songs they think will be received well. They are waiting for the right time to introduce them.

“We want to create an atmosphere and a space where people can meet with God. That is our number one goal,” Showley said. “If it’s where God’s place is and it’s what he wants to do in that chapel service, then we’ve done our job.”

This semester’s worship chapels fall on Oct. 15 and Nov. 24. On these days, the worship bands will play for the entirety of the service.

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Chapel change prompts tightened campus security

Indiana Wesleyan University’s switch to a unified chapel service affected more than just class schedules and the sense of spiritual oneness at the school; it affected how the university’s Campus Police Department does its job.

When Director of Campus Police Mario Rangel heard of IWU’s plan to combine the chapel services, he knew there had to be a change.

Photo by Becka Roth

Photo by Becka Roth

“It was common sense that we upped the security a little bit, when you have that many people congregated in one area,” Rangel said.

Last school year, there was only one Campus Police officer in each of the two services. Rangel said he now has two officers patrolling the service. There are also two student officers, both criminal justice majors, who assist the main officers. Two more officers watch over the area outside the Chapel Auditorium and the Barnes Student Center during the students’ exit from the service, which Rangel calls the “cattle drive.”

The chapel change also prompted Campus Police to tighten security at other campus functions. Now, Rangel said he has an officer at “all the events” on campus. These officers are prepared to react to a variety of crimes.

“When you look at how things have turned since Columbine and Virginia Tech [school shootings], it’s not just the active shooters anymore,” said Rangel. “I think if you’re planning for just one thing, you’re making a big mistake.”

Another potential change for Campus Police is the implementation of a program called IWU Safe Ride. In this program, student ticket writers will drive around in a van labeled “IWU Safe Ride” and pick up students at nighttime when they don’t feel comfortable walking back to their residence hall or wherever they are headed.

“Whether it’s eight, nine, 10 o’clock at night, students can call this criminal justice major, who has gone through background checks, and is out there writing tickets and patrolling the lots,” said Rangel.

The program is still in the works but could start next semester, Rangel said.

Rangel also stressed the importance of students taking responsibility for their own safety. He offered three tips for students to follow in order to stay safe.
The first tip is simple: just lock up your things.

“We’ve had about three or four cars at IWU with items stolen from them since the beginning of the semester,” Rangel said. “People are walking by and checking the door handles, and if your handle is the one that’s open, that makes it easier for the criminal.”

Rangel also said it’s never a good idea to walk or jog alone, even in the daytime. But if you do choose to go out by yourself, he said to be sure to notify someone else where you are going and approximately when you will get back.

The last suggestion Rangel had was to download the Circle of 6 application for smartphone or tablet. The app allows the user to select six people as emergency contacts and contact them quickly for a variety of circumstances.

“If you concentrate on those things, you’ve done me a huge favor,” Rangel said.

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Letter from the editor: Chapel isn’t about you

Read that title again. And then read it once more the next time you walk into the Chapel-Auditorium. Whether you think chapel attendance should be mandatory or voluntary or if you prefer traditional or modern worship, those details aren’t why you should go.

Chapel isn’t about singing songs you like or hearing messages that feel good to you. It’s not about agreeing with everything that’s said and done on stage and tweeting about what you don’t like. And it’s certainly not about doing homework during the service and standing up to leave during the benediction.

Quite simply, it’s about praising God.

One could also argue it’s about respect. No matter how you feel about any aspect of chapel, the concept as a whole is a matter of respect toward God and should be treated as such.

I’m not saying we should eliminate all discussions regarding chapel and how to make it better. However, those conversations should be constructive and not based solely on personal preferences. I understand and appreciate the desire to improve the chapel experience and I can think of at least three or four specific services that left many students, including myself, scratching our heads.

But I believe our God is intricate; the same One who brought us all to Indiana Wesleyan University for a specific purpose. Couldn’t this God who obviously plans far ahead use a chapel I thought was pointless to touch the life of someone who needed to hear it at that moment?

You bet.

Chapel is always a hot-button issue, and with good reason. On a campus representing many majors, socioeconomic statuses and (believe it or not) ethnic backgrounds, chapel is one of only a few experiences nearly all IWU students have in common. All the more reason we should treat it with the respect and courtesy it deserves, along with the students, staff and faculty who work hard to make it happen.

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Students respond to return of cold weather, classes

Despite subzero temperatures, Indiana Wesleyan University students and faculty trudged against wind and snow to classes. Some students had a more lighthearted and humorous opinion on the lack of class cancellation.

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“I am literally going to cry thinking about walking in -25 degree temperatures tomorrow morning. #cruel ‪#iwu” said Twitter user @larsenkaylaa last night.

“I can’t worship under these conditions. #IWUCANCELLATIONS #IWU,” quipped user @Nathan_Hudson.

“Good thing Jesus has experience putting ears back on, because mine just froze off #freezing #iwu” joked user @toricrofford.

Other students didn’t find walking in the freezing temperatures quite as funny.

“It’s not too late to still cancel the rest of classes.. It will be too late after multiple asthma attacks, falls, and car accidents.” said user @elumston.

@heyyyitsAlaine posted a screenshot of the weather report, with the post, “Something like this tells me we shouldn’t have school today or tomorrow.”

While students raised concerns about everything from the extremely low temperatures to unsafe travel conditions, not all minded going to class.

Lydia Flynn (so) was amongst the students who understood the university’s decision.

“I can understand why, because we are behind in some of our classes. But if it hadn’t been for the recent snow days, they probably would have canceled,” said Flynn (so) “But I don’t think I would have made the same decision.”

Students are already buzzing about tomorrow’s negative temperatures, high wind speeds and wind chill effects. With tundra-inspired temperatures on the horizon, they’ll continue to wonder why classes aren’t canceled tomorrow.

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