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Problems exist within forum of Friday Chapel

March 28, 2003

By Staff editorial

One of Baylor's oldest traditions and requirements, Chapel, has changed drastically over the last four years, developing from a Lariat-reading, homework-finishing period to a noble program that provides students with both a time of worship and an opportunity to hear from an ever-improving lineup of distinguished Christians. This fall, Chapel changes once again, becoming mandatory for all incoming freshmen and adding six Friday sessions.

Baylor faculty and staff would lead these sessions, in which groups of 20 to 25 students would discuss the week's visitors and message. The underlying idea, of course, is to help develop a sense of community for the newest members of the Baylor family by creating another opportunity for interaction.

Adding another day of Chapel obviously will not affect students' schedules too badly besides taking away a cherished hour of sleep. Six Fridays of small-group interaction followed by voluntary participation in covenant groups would not do them any harm, either.

However, the Lariat sees two potential problems with this small-group format on Fridays. First, these groups are not exactly what one might consider 'small.' 20-25 students is the size of many regular survey classes, and eliciting participation in those classes can be a difficult enough challenge already. As Dr. Todd Lake stated in the March 19 edition of the Lariat, 'it's been discovered that the more opportunities students have to interact with each other and to communicate with teachers, the better they can transition into college life.' If this is the case, then these groups may not be small enough to facilitate this kind of interaction.

Furthermore, these mandatory sessions only meet for the first six weeks of Chapel. While the Lariat lauds the goals of bringing freshmen together to discuss Chapel, the Chapel sessions throughout the rest of the semester can be equally as thought provoking as those in the first six weeks.