Continuing the Chapel Tradition

Continuing the Chapel Tradition

Chapel is one of the oldest traditions in American higher education and one of the longest standing and most important traditions of the Baylor experience. It remains an integral part of life for the University’s students.

What began in Baylor’s early years as a single daily prayer service has transformed over time to meet evolving needs of the students who find their home here and changes within the life of the University.

Today, Baylor students are spiritually nurtured and challenged through a variety of Chapel opportunities with rich content that employs classic spiritual disciplines, discussion, presentations, readings and reflection. What they gain from this content is enriched and sustained by the meaningful connections they make. They also find spiritual mentors that support and nurture them in the maturation of a flourishing Christian life over the course of their time as undergraduate students.

Baylor’s Office of Spiritual Life is focused on offering meaningful connections through Chapel experiences. Burt Burleson, B.A. ’80, D.Min., University chaplain and dean of spiritual life, said this provides an opportunity for Baylor students to “find their people.”

“We are trying to connect with students where they are and enable them to begin a journey at Baylor that helps them flourish,” Burleson said. “We’re trying to connect with an interest or community or passion somebody has, or to find a way of making a student who’s never set foot in a church feel a little bit more comfortable.”

Chapel credit hours are required and students may pick from several Chapel formats: daily Chapel prayer service at one of the three campus chapels; a more traditional Chapel worship service; or a more focused, formational study within an academic discipline or campus discipleship ministry.

Students may engage in Chapel related to specific fields of study such as healing professions, sports, nursing, veterans, business and the arts, and directed sections for students who prefer to meet with a minister or mentor one-on-one. Erin Moniz, D.Min., associate chaplain and chapel director, said students are able to find the place where they best fit.

“We’re hoping that long after their Chapel credit is met, they have connected to spiritual mentors, peer groups and communities that will help sustain that spiritual growth for the long run,” Moniz said. “We’re thinking of Chapel as a threshold that gets students set up for a healthy experience in their own spiritual formation for the rest of their lives.”

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