Chance for YC Community to Gather

By Mindy Witt - Panther Press

The 10 a.m. time slot for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday looks exactly the same on every York College student’s schedule.  No, we don’t all pack into a lecture hall to hear about the principles of accounting or get a quick botany lesson; instead, students file into the Freeman Center, find their assigned seats, and wait for the day’s chapel to begin.

Chapel format is generally the same, opening with two songs led by a male student followed by a prayer before someone introduces the speaker for the day.  Verbal announcements follow the speaker’s message before the student body is dismissed.  Of course, if it’s a Monday, don’t forget the school song.

While returning YC students know the whole Chapel drill, some new students to campus sometimes question the Chapel routine.

So, what exactly is the purpose of chapel?  Campus Minister Tim Lewis explained that chapel is what makes us who we are.

 “When we look back, Chapel makes us unique by having a spiritual and social time together that is set aside as an important part of our day,” Lewis explained.

While Chapel’s main purpose is to grow spiritually as students, it also has a large social aspect to it. Other schools do not have a time where everyone in the school can be in the same place, at the same time, enjoying each other’s company.  The opportunity to see people whom you would normally not see, because you don’t share the same residence hall or class times, is available through daily Chapel.

York’s roots trace back to holding chapel everyday, as most Christian schools do. So why does York have daily chapel when a lot of other Christian schools have gone to other structures? For example, some schools only hold chapel twice a week, or require students to go only a certain number of times.  Lewis explained that some schools have strayed from their basic purpose and mission and their chapel time became less important.  In other cases, as small schools grew, they ran out of room and facilities to make hosting a daily chapel possible.

 “Because of the size and nature of York, we can still have Chapel everyday,” Lewis stated.  He went on, “Chapel is still a huge part of our mission.  It separates us from others.”

Lewis stressed the different aspects that Chapel provides to students.  Along with its spiritual purpose, it is a main communication tool for the college.  Important news and events can quickly be conveyed to the student body, because they are all present in one setting.  Rarely do college students get lured to a sporting event because of the promise of free hot dogs after singing “Amazing Grace,” but, at York College, it’s all possible.

YC Sophomore Ana Moyers realizes the importance of Chapel, stating “I think Chapel is important, because it really helps start my day off on the right foot by praising God and doing it with all of the people I love.” 

 “What other place do you have the entire student body in the gym, and minutes after Chapel is done you have people hanging around and shooting baskets?” Lewis stated.  Chapel is a unique place and time for fellowship with students

 “My favorite part about Chapel is being able to see everyone.  It is the one time of day where all of the students are in the same place,” Moyers summarizes.  “It gives it a family gathering feel.”

And isn’t family what York College is all about?

Tim Lewis heads up the Chapel Committee that is in charge of planning speakers and content.  Kristin and Carson Tuttle also serve on the committee, while Professor Bobby DeHart represents the faculty, and Student Association President and Vice President, Katie Kinyon and Drew Gieger represent the students, giving student perspective to the Chapel planning.

A new feature added to the Chapel lineup actually puts more say into student’s hands.  Thursday Chapel formats are completely up to the Student Association representatives.  Full control on this day allows the Chapel agenda to be completely about what the students want to see.

Second semester, students will have even more influence on what is said in Chapel, and topics and speakers are opened up and left to the students’ discretion.

Fridays are also a break from the ordinary, as students get to partake in “Praise Chapel.”  Lewis explains that this is aimed to close the week with a strong focus on praise and worship.  Because the regular Chapel format does not spend a lot of time on worship and praise, such as singing, etc., Friday’s main goal of Praise Chapel is to end the week on a strong worshiping note.

Although 10 a.m. might come a little early for some students, it is important to realize that Chapel has been a strong part of York history since the beginning of the school. Chapel can be the little break in your day to learn something that won’t be followed up with a test during finals week.

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