By Olivia Godfrey, Class of 2016
The Westminster School at Oak Mountain has much that sets it apart. One of these features is chapel. The worship at Westminster’s Chapel is student led. A variety of students participate, from seventh grade all the way to twelfth. These students are gifted by God both instrumentally and vocally. Chapel also gives students a chance to take a break from the typical busyness of schoolwork to learn about and worship the Lord.
Chapel usually occurs about five times during the school year, normally on a Thursday. There are both All School and Upper School chapels that take place throughout the course of the year. “All School” Chapel creates the opportunity for grades kindergarten through twelfth to come together and worship the Lord, while Upper School chapels are reserved specifically for Upper School students and staff. This creates a different atmosphere than the “All School” Chapel in that it is a smaller group, and has less of an age gap between the students.
The service normally begins with a student led or faculty led prayer. Then the students are led in a time of worship by the Chapel band and singers. This time of worship usually consists of about three songs. After this, there is a brief time of teaching given by a chosen pastor or teacher. Once this time of teaching ends, a final song is sung. To close the Chapel service, a student or teacher will close in prayer.
At the beginning of each year, a theme is chosen to be the focus of the songs and the messages over the course of the year. This creates a focal point so that there is a clear direction in which the teachings and songs will go. For example, this year’s chapel theme is the virtues of faith, hope, and love. The teachings and songs all reflect these three aspects of the Christian life. This creates a plan and purpose for all of the chapels as the year goes on. It also means that each song that is chosen to be sung or each lesson taught will tie into the theme for the year.
The overall purpose of chapel is to take time from the school day and to refocus on God. This is refreshing and encouraging at the same time. Not only is this the case for students, but teachers as well.
As Westminster continues to grow as a school, community, and family, it will be crucial that we invite God to be present in everything. Chapel is one of the ways that we intend to do this.