The future of chapel is in your hands, according to Student Vestry

Jaclyn Schlossberg, Staff Writer

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This week during chapel and advisory, the Student Vestry (the body of students that manages chapels) reached out to students and the community for new ideas regarding what to do during our chapel time.

The Vestry wants to hear students’ thoughts and opinions in order to consider new ways to change chapel for the better.

Currently, the majority of time in chapel goes to senior speeches, but Saint Stephen’s Vestry and our new chaplain, Reverend Rich, would like to see innovative additions in chapel to make our time there more fruitful. The Gauntlet was curious to get a student perspective on chapel and the possible changes.

Students tend to enjoy “special” days in chapel, when something occurs that is out of the ordinary.  This generally means that someone plays an instrument, sings a song, or performs a unique talent.

At the beginning of last year, Father Nathan introduced silent meditation into the chapel routine. Reverend Rich has continued this activity, with guided meditation.

Some students enjoy silence and “centering,” and enjoy the peace it brings during a stressful school day. But sometimes long periods of meditation can be hard to accomplish with the entire upper school in a confined area.

Students tend to get restless and stray from the point of meditation. For meditation to work properly, all students must partake in it, making a successful session of silence hard to reach.

But a moment of peace can be really helpful after 2nd period, giving students a brief time of no social interaction. The upper school students seem to be about split between the meditation activity, with half of students wanting to continue it, and the other half more or less indifferent about the activity.

Every week, upper schoolers attend chapel twice, and students deserve to have a say in how their time in chapel is spent.

Recently, The Gauntlet collected opinions and ideas from some teachers and students of all grade levels. Every individual I spoke with had new and interesting views on chapel.

Senior Sydney Ashley bought up chapel’s seating plan.

Currently chapel seating is organized in advisory rows and grade levels.  Students have asked for the freedom to sit with who they want and where they want. This would make chapel more enjoyable for all.

Also advisory rows can get a little crowded at times; this would allow people to spread out and be comfortable.

Sophomore Alex Sket Enjoys when the lights are dimmed in chapel because the harsh bright lights can disrupt chapel’s mellow vibes.

Another request by sophomore Thomas Joyce was to incorporate more songs and singing into chapel’s itinerary.  Singing and performances in chapel are entertaining and interactive; they freshen up chapel days.

Ms. Grady suggested more audience participation, because it is a fun way to incorporate everyone into chapel.

One of the examples mentioned is when the whole school sings the “12 Days of Christmas” as a call-and-response with the audience. This type of audience participation in chapel keeps everyone involved and engaged. 

Hopefully, in the near future, we will see some of these ideas used in chapel.

Student Verstry wants to hear student’s thoughts and opinions on chapel, and new ways to change chapel for the better.  Yesterday everyone in the upper school took a survey  to submit your chapel ideas to Student Vestry.

If you have any other chapel suggestions contact Jack Barry or Reverend Rich.

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