Photo by: Henoc Kivuye
Attempting to enhance the spiritual life of students, Oklahoma Christian University’s Spiritual Life Committee created Sunrise Chapel, the new alternative Thursday morning chapel time for students.
“It has been a few weeks since we started talking about Sunrise Chapel and a lot of the upperclassmen were really influential in making this happen,” freshmen Emily Dick said. “We are still trying to find other ideas like starting other chapels at different times to give our spiritual life more diversity.”
For students such as Dick, junior Quinn Fields and freshman Zachary Buckmaster, it is crucial to start their morning with God as the focus.
“It was really good to start my day off in prayer and reflection,” Dick said. “I really think it is important to start your day off with God as the focus of it because if you don’t do that, it’s hard to focus on the Lord the rest of the day and bring him the glory.”
Many students are giving their morning to worship and fellowship with other students with the newly formed Sunrise Chapel.
“I think it was cool to see people sacrifice that time to really make the morning holy and be with other people and read the Bible and pray early in the morning,” Fields said.
Sunrise Chapel meets every Thursday at 7:30 a.m. on the second floor of the Mabee Learning Center where the president’s office used to be located. This chapel was created from collaboration with the Student Government Association.
“The Student Government Association has a Spiritual Life Committee, and this year we are really trying to broaden the different types of spiritual activities that are offered to students because we know that not everyone is the same and that everyone needs opportunities to grow spiritually here,” Dick said.
On Oct. 31 Sunrise Chapel met for the first time with around 30 students ready to worship. SGA plans on expanding and continuing it into next year if the number of students increases.
“Sunrise Chapel is one of the things we are trying out this semester, and we are piloting it and if it does well then we will continue it into next semester and hopefully into further years,” Dick said.
More students turned up than the group planned for.
“We had to bring in more chairs because some people were sitting on the ground,” Fields said. “We had three faculty and staff there. We discussed the purpose of the morning by scripture reading, singing together and praying together. Everyone is involved with the morning readings.”
During the meeting, the group reads from the Common Book of Prayer, a step-by-step guideline on how to lead worship, and everyone participates.
“I know that the Common Book of Prayer has been used for several centuries and it is really cool say ing the same kind of prayers that our ancestors said and followers of Christ that came before us,” Dick said. “We think about the different situations they may have been in, like if they were persecuted.”
All the necessary materials are provided for the students in Sunrise Chapel. To improve Sunrise Chapel, Fields requested the group begin the session with a Christian greeting.
“I would like to see a little more greeting part incorporated, get to know each other with a saying like, ‘May the peace of Christ be with you,’” Fields said. “I think the first day went really well actually, and I think everybody really liked it. Who does not like a good sunrise?”
Buckmaster suggested the group sit on the floor rather than on chairs to help with the issue of not enough room and chairs.
“An improvement could be how we are sat; maybe we could just sit on the floor rather than chairs,” Buckmaster said.
Students cannot go to Sunrise Chapel at 7:30 a.m. and regular chapel at 11 a.m. and get two chapel swipes.
“You can’t double-dip,” Fields said. “You can’t go to both Sunrise Chapel and regular chapel and get two chapel credits because the system is only set up for one chapel per day.”
Sunrise Chapel welcomes all students and faculty who are early risers to participate by starting their day with God as their focus.
“About 30 students came in the first day, but we would love for a lot more to come,” Dick said. “Our goal in the student life is to offer activities that appeal to all kinds of students. Sunset Chapel is a possibility.”