Chapel has played an integral role in the life of Baylor University since its inception. What began as a single daily prayer service for all faculty, staff, and students has transformed over time to meet needs and respond to changes within the life of the university and the world at large.
Today students have five options to satisfy the university requirement of attending Chapel for two semesters while enrolled at Baylor. Each course offering is unique, though all seek to invite students into the worship, witness, wisdom, and work of the Church as part of Baylor's mission; or in some instances, introduce students to Christian faith and practice.
This Chapel experience most closely resembles what Chapel was in its early days at Baylor. Students gather with Spiritual Life chaplains or members of Baylor’s faculty or staff, to spend time in prayer either at the beginning or end of the day. These quiet, short services, which occur Monday through Thursday, are designed to center us in God’s presence and will involve singing, meditation, scripture readings, and prayers for those in the Baylor community and beyond. Chapel Prayers can help us develop a habit and a rhythm of daily prayer. These services take place within Baylor’s chapels across the campus and in other spaces in our residential communities.
All of what we do during Chapel is an important part of a Baylor education. The programs we enjoy and the sacred time we share are significant gifts to our community. They help us to remember our deeper callings and envision a greater good. They challenge and inspire us. They nurture us and help us rest for a while. Chapel is a place of learning and a place of knowing, though knowing of a different kind. There are some things that can't be known through a lecture or a lab. They are beyond that sort of calculation.
Chapel experience rooted in the origins of Chapel at Baylor as a time and place where students, faculty, and staff can come together to worship. These services (longer than our Chapel Prayer Services) occur once a week and are shaped by a historic and global understanding of Christian worship. These services are infused with music and other elements from different cultures and different ages which find their unity in the life of the Church. Students will have the opportunity to lead in various ways as well as hear sermons from local ministers from the Baylor community and beyond.
Chapel Studies courses are available to students with certain interests, needs, and passions or perhaps those in particular academic majors. Each Chapel Study will involve the teaching of Christian perspectives and practices. Some examples of Chapel Studies open to everyone include a study of Contemplative Prayer or an experience designed to help students think about missions and engaging missionally in Waco. Some Chapel Studies are discipline specific and open to certain students based upon their major or their residential community. For instance Faith and the Healing Professions is available to all Baylor students who are enrolled in healthcare-related majors. Faith and the Arts, is a Chapel Study experience only open to students from the various art majors.
BE SURE YOU CHECK THE BAYLOR SCHEDULE OF CLASSES TO SEE WHICH CHAPEL STUDIES ARE OFFERED EACH SEMESTER AS THESE OPTIONS VARY MOST OFTEN.
Similar to Chapel Studies in its emphasis for those who want to grow in knowledge and understanding of Christian thinking and practice. However, unlike Chapel Studies, Chapel Forum is not a discipline-specific or interest-focused course. Students won’t be considering one particular subject for the entire semester, such as Faith and Business or a study on prayer. Instead, this experience is designed for those who want to explore a wide variety of ideas and issues and do so thoughtfully and civilly with their fellow students through the lens of faith and ethical convictions. In Chapel Forum, students will hear from a variety of speakers who are scholars and practitioners and will have the opportunity to dialogue with them as well as with one another regarding the issues of the day. This chapel experience is a good fit for those students who love to ask and engage with hard questions.
The newest Chapel experience in the life of the University. Chapel Online is designed to walk through the overarching narrative of the Old and New Testament over two semesters by utilizing 15-25 minute videos, released on Monday and Wednesday of each week. This is an asynchronous chapel experience, meaning students can do it in their own time throughout the week.
Each video engages students in biblical truths and Christian practices by utilizing filmmaking techniques to create videos which foster common contemplation and prayer. The videos can be watched on their own or in group settings. Due to this experience taking place virtually, students have to complete a short five-question quiz after watching each video to be counted present.
Everyone is invited to be present, to really be with us. For that to happen you'll need to let go of some things. You'll need to let go of your need to text or talk with someone "right now" and of that tendency perhaps to judge what is happening and assume it's "not your thing." Just receive it. And you'll need to forget for a moment the calendar that is calling so loudly, the stress that is mounting as the semester rolls on. Just be here. Be still for a time and lift up your heart. Lift up your heart to the Lord.