Where two or three Zoom: how to worship this semester

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Chapel this semester will be livestreamed, and humming will replace singing in viewing rooms on campus.

Some students may go entire semesters without setting foot in Calvin’s chapel; this semester, that could be all of us.

No longer in person, chapel will be livestreamed every day at 10:00 a.m. The temptation to gather in large groups to sing, dance and go through the choreography for favorite childhood songs will be present but forbidden.

Calvin is encouraging smaller groups with stricter rules. For instance, chapel viewing rooms will be offered throughout campus with signs explaining how to use them. These small gatherings offer a chance for fellowship but maintain rules such as wearing a mask and social distancing.“Hum together, sing alone,” said University Pastor Mary Hulst.

LOFT, the Sunday evening service led by Hulst in the chapel, is cancelled for the time being. Instead, Hulst will be preaching on Wednesdays during normal chapel time. 

Although Calvin has firmly decided that chapel will be held online, decisions about Sunday in-person worship remain in the hands of students. Many area churches have moved their services online, but others have recently returned to in-person services. Calvin is not instating a policy prohibiting students from attending church in person, but the university is discouraging attendance to protect neighboring communities.

Another option for those seeking fellowship is Campus Ministries’ six-session, student-led study of Philippians. The study is open for all students to lead and form groups, and guidelines for each session can be found on the Campus Ministries site. Hulst will also be following along with the study in her Wednesday preaching. In addition to student support through the Philippians study, Hulst, Pastor Matt Postma, the Pastoral Partners, and seminary interns will be available throughout the semester with virtual office hours. One-on-one in-person appointments are also available.