Churches have been considered places of sanctuary for millions of people since the Christian faith inspired their construction. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the school year, our Performing Arts Center and occasionally our gymnasiums become places of sanctuary from the rush of the school year as students gather to learn more about God. Last week, the Upper, Middle, and Lower Schools all held their first chapel meetings of the year.
Stop by Lower School chapel and you’ll hear hundreds of voices joined to sing songs of praise, and watch as students eagerly raise their hands to answer questions. Head of the Lower School Sarah Love leads the monthly meetings, selecting a theme for the year and carefully reinforcing each lesson throughout the year. At last week’s first chapel, Love announced that the new year’s theme would be “Soaring in God’s Power.” Students were excited to learn more about allowing God to carry them through times of challenge and times of peace.
The Upper and Middle Schools join together for several chapels each year, and the first chapel is one of those meetings. Last Tuesday, a band of five students led the packed auditorium through several songs as a beautiful light show radiated down on them. Our Upper School chaplain, Dr. John Hugh Tate, then brought three students to the chapel stage to share about being baptized in the Jordan River alongside people from Zambia and Germany during the Upper School summer trip to Israel. The moment was, “…a profound representation of the body of Christ, of all believers around the world,” said Tate.
Throughout the year, each chapel service offered on campus will be prayerfully considered and thoughtfully presented to inspire students to continue to develop personal relationships with God and with friends and mentors. From difficult questions of theology, to painful experiences of life in an imperfect world, the JA chapel creates a space of sanctuary for students to grow and rest in the Gospel.