As students approach their fourth week on campus, life at times appears to have shifted back to the way it was before March.
Yet, there are still many changes on our campus this semester as each department works to operate in a new normal.
The Campus Ministry Team is no exception.
While most of the events and services from years past will still be offered, the manner in which they will be carried out has changed.
Chapel is the biggest change that CMT has had to make.
Chapel is being held in the RSC four-court area to reach a higher capacity and maintain social distance. Students who attend are expected to wear a mask and have the iAttended app downloaded on their phone to track their attendance.
Tuesday and Friday chapels are traditionally not the only way to receive chapel credits, and this year will be no different.
Spanish chapels, held once a month on Wednesdays at 10:05 a.m., began on Sept. 9 in Christ Chapel. NED Talks, held on the other three Wednesdays of the month at the same time, will begin on Sept. 16 also in Christ Chapel. And the semester’s first NGAGE, held once a month, will be on Sept. 29 in Christ Chapel, where Sho Baraka will speak on how to balance faith and politics.
Sunday night Praise and Worship, a campus favorite, is also being held in the RSC this year. At its regular time of 8:30 p.m., students will have the opportunity to worship while staying socially distant and wearing masks.
CMT worship leader Lydia Bader says that the worship team is also working on starting up Wednesday night worship once more.
Discipleship groups, commonly known as D-groups, are also beginning in every dorm on campus. Here, students meet in small groups on Tuesday nights to go through Bible studies together or simply connect through the Word.
In years past, D-group sizes have mostly ranged from eight to 10 students, but most dorm rooms cannot safely accommodate groups of these sizes.
“We’ve been learning to be creative and choosing to look at it as a new opportunity to change things up a bit,” said Abigail Moody, the Stegenga Hall discipleship coordinator.
In Fern Smith Hall, for example, most D-groups have been decreased to six women or less to fit into a dorm room, but a few larger groups have moved their meeting spaces to areas like the third floor computer lounge, which has a capacity of 25 students.
CMT also hosts many smaller events, which are less frequent but also great ways for students to take study breaks and find much needed quiet time with God like Prayer Labyrinths and “Alone Together.”
Some of this event planning is the responsibility of Vanessa Stokes, who is the apartment coordinator and a member of the Prayer and Event Team.
“Due to COVID-19, the event part of my title has gone from large event planning to more intimate gatherings,” Stokes said, “Major events of from previous years are on the books for this year. They’ll just be adapted to fit this year’s needs.”
Finally, even though no one knows exactly what the global pandemic will bring by next spring or summer, the student coordinators in CMT are actively doing their best to make tentative plans for Spring Service Projects and Summer of Service internships.
Kaitlyn Hassman, a SOS coordinator, said that for these opportunities, most of the COVID-19 adjustments will be regarding location.
Spring Service Projects are on the calendar, but there will be no international trips this year, only domestic. Likewise, for SOS trips, the coordinators are specifically looking at domestic locations rather than the usual international ones.
While CMT events this year are not the same as in years past, students may take comfort in knowing that the students and staff of CMT are coming up with new and creative solutions to keep the same activities and opportunities available to campus.