Am I required to attend chapel?
Yes. Chapel at Messiah College is a central expression of our identity as a community of Christians with a deep commitment to spiritual growth and academic excellence. Chapel is a required opportunity for exposure to forms of worship, various speakers and ideas which are put together with the intention of affirming our common commitments while they both reflect and challenge individual preferences in style. Though we hope that students will be challenged in their faith through chapel, we realize that spiritual nurture is ultimately a function of each person's will, preference and responsibility and cannot be subject to requirements. Chapel is required as a common experience. Spiritual nurture is each student's own responsibility.
How many chapels must I attend?
Students are required to attend 24. There are certain circumstances where a student's requirement may be lowered such as student teaching. Adjustments are made to a student's requirement once College Ministries has been notified by the appropriate department requesting the adjustment.
May I submit corrections to my chapel attendance?
Corrections are accepted at the end of the semester. College Ministries will notify students of these dates by email, on our website, in MCSquare, and on Channel 6. Students are allowed to submit up to 3 corrections. All 3 corrections must be submitted on the same form online.
I work during chapel time. May I be excused from chapel?
If your work hours coincide with chapel time, you may be excused from chapel. Please fill out a chapel petition form located in MCSquare. For verification purposes, you will need to supply your employer's name and phone number.
I didn't attend enough chapels during the semester. What happens now?
Any student who fails to attain the requirement of 24 chapels in a given semester will be placed on chapel probation and notification will be made to the student's academic advisor, the Registrar and the Dean of Students. Please refer to the following website for further details: Chapel Policies
I live off campus. Do I still need to attend chapel?
Commuters who have classes either before or after chapel are expected to attend chapel; other commuters may file a request for an exemption using the online chapel petition form. College Ministries will begin reviewing chapel petitions once the drop/add period has ended and we are able to verify class schedules.
I was sick during chapel. May I be excused?
Students who need to be excused from chapel because of sickness or other medical reasons may request an exemption using the online chapel petition form. All medical exemptions must be accompanied by a note from a physician, counselor or the Engle Center for Health and Counseling Services.
I am student teaching this semester. How can I be excused from chapel?
The Teacher Education Program will send our office the names and IDs of students who should be exempt from chapel. Once we have been notified by the TEP office, we will adjust your chapel requirement accordingly.
I have an internship/practicum this semester. Do I still need to attend chapel?
College Ministries will be notified by the Internship office of those students who should be exempt from chapel. Students are still required to fill out the online chapel petition form in MCSquare.
I heard on campus I may be excused from chapel if I babysit. Is this true?
If your babysitting arrangement is not organized through a church, you will need to submit the online chapel petition form in MCSquare. Please provide us with the name of the parent and a phone number we may reach them at for verification. The hours you babysit must coincide with chapel time.
If your babysitting arrangement is organized through a local church, please have the program director contact us for further details.
What is the objective of common chapel?
Chapel at Messiah College is a central expression of our identity as a community of Christians with a deep commitment to spiritual growth and academic excellence. Chapel is a required opportunity for exposure to forms of worship, various speakers and ideas which are put together with the intention of affirming our common commitments while they both reflect and challenge individual preferences in style. Though we hope that students will be challenged in their faith through chapel, we realize that spiritual nurture is ultimately a function of each person's will, preference and responsibility and cannot be subject to requirements. Chapel is required as a common experience. Spiritual nurture is each student's own responsibility.
Chapel serves as one of two required co-curricular activities at Messiah College (Residential living and Chapel) Both are valued because Messiah College is primarily a residential college..
How was 24 chosen as the required attendance number?
Historically, 24 was selected because of 15 weeks in a semester and the expectation that students would attend two Chapels each week with some excused absences and some weeks that only had one chapel because of holidays. The number 24 was not considered sacred. This was actually an established expectation before the addition of Alternate Chapels, Service for Chapels or Book Chapels that currently supplement Common Chapels.
Has this number been modified in the past?
Yes, originally chapel met every day. Later, chapel only met three days per week and finally the college settled on two days per week (Tuesday and Thursday) because that fit the Academic Calendar better. The current requirement is only 12 Common chapels with the potential for an additional 12 being filled in other ways. That in part is due to the number of students on campus no longer fitting in Brubaker. However, there still is a strong majority who simply meet the requirement by attending Common chapels.
How would your objectives be compromised by reducing chapel attendance requirements?
Since we utilize the six educational and foundational objectives of Messiah College (identified from our foundational documents) and the Church calendar as a guide for chapel, if we held fewer chapels per semester, it would simply mean we that the time we take in addressing the Chapel Movements would be less each semester. Our objective to address and experience spiritual formation outcomes would remain and not be compromised. For instance, we might have one or two Advent focused chapels rather than four.
Do you believe students who are genuinely passionate about Christianity will continue to attend chapel even if it were not mandatory?
Many would. However, the two universities that have volunteer chapel and maintain a high percentage of attendance close all offices and operate in a context where faculty are expected to attend and promote attendance by students. Messiah College also has a number of committees and other entities that meet during chapel and there is even pressure to have instruction during chapel. If not chapel was not required, the number of other meetings during chapel times would certainly increase.
Powerhouse may serve as an example of a voluntary worship event. Certainly a good number of students continue to attend Powerhouse even though it is not required. Yet many never go. Even when 400 (approximate maximum of Hostetter Chapel) attend that is only about 14% of the student body. That percentage or less often seems to be true where chapel is voluntary. There is a passionate core of students who prioritize chapel but it becomes something less than Common chapel because so many of the student body never attend.