Campus News

Alternate chapel offers different atmosphere

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Though alternate chapel is held almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. in the Octorium, some Bethel students have never attended it. “I didn’t even know about it,” said senior Georgie Boisse. Boisse was unaware that alternate chapel is a separate entity from Vespers, Bethel’s weekly Wednesday night chapel service. “The chairs are uncomfortable,” said junior Calvin Ray. Is alternate chapel more than Vespers? More than wooden chairs? What is alternate chapel? Alternate is a unique chapel experience. Students are lead in acoustic-style worship by sophomore Calvin Whetstone. Then the speaker from the main chapel site is streamed on a live-feed screen. Why do students choose to attend alternate? The different location and style are attractive to those who like smaller crowds for worship or shorter walks to the Academic Center afterwards. “It provides a comforting worship experience,” said junior Amber Elder. “With fewer people, it is easier to feel more connected with the music. However, with the speaker being presented on a screen, it does cause it to feel as though there is some distance between you and the speaker.” Senior Courtney Zimmer also believes that alternate chapel’s worship service is exceptional. “I like it because it’s a small group of people that I feel comfortable enough with, even though I don’t really know them, to maybe not sing a particular song because I want to listen or sit down if I want,” explained Courtney Zimmer. “This means I feel free to worship how I want.” Whetstone, alternate chapel’s worship leader, also enjoys this “free” aspect of the services. “I like the freedom to be able to do what I want to do; I like choosing my music,” Whetstone said, expounding that this liberty gives him the opportunity to pick songs that suit his voice and his fellow worshippers well. “It’s important to continue to do new stuff because it builds my music library and it’s boring to keep doing the same songs,” Whetstone said. “There’s so many songs that are never done in a corporate worship setting and so many done that I would never do.” Whetstone’s goal is that those who attend alternate chapel regularly will learn new songs, preventing them from just going through the motions as they worship. “The thing I really like about alternate . . . it’s more than just singing a song to participate, but, singing a song to worship,” Whetstone said. Alternate chapel is distinct in its acoustic music and smaller group of worshippers, and the atmosphere is very relaxed and comfortable. Everyone knows about regular chapel, but being aware that Bethel has other options for students’ chapel requirements can lead to a more diverse collegiate experience.
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