On October 6, 2021, all students received the email that Chapel would make a full-fledged return to the way that it had been before Covid. With masks gone and this development, the campus has pretty much returned to its pre-Covid state – except, it’s better than ever.
At the beginning, Chapel went completely virtual, and that presented its own set of challenges for our administration. Once the number of cases was consistently low and it was safe to do so, we were finally able to attend in person, but it was split in two groups so that there were less people in the auditorium at one time.
When I first interviewed Dr. Mims, the decision to resume regular chapel hadn’t yet been decided. It was still being evaluated, but they “had to go back and reevaluate whether [they] could have everybody in chapel at one time because of the growth on campus.” In the nearly two-year period that Covid has gone on, our campus has had a bigger growth than ever before. It’s a an unexpected, but not unwelcome, problem to have. This semester, it seems that everyone is able to be in chapel at one time. However, if Blue Mountain College continues to grow like it has been, it may be something that needs to be reevaluated in the future.
The pandemic brought on a myriad of struggles and issues, but the growth of our campus isn’t the only good to have come out despite the hardships. Because of restrictions, they “had to go smaller to maintain those personal connections, so the prayer groups that were established out of that and the small groups that happened, as a result, that was a major positive response.”
Technology was another area that benefited. Dr. Mims continued that we “were able to strengthen our tech across the board. We had to do better with our technology. [That resulted] in a new sound system in the chapel. We desperately needed one, and now we have one… We’re able to do things with media now that we weren’t able to do a year and a half ago.”
As restrictions lessen and things go back to normal, the difficulty getting speakers for chapel has also gone away. At the beginning, Dr. Mims explained that the “thing was – could we ask a person to come? What would that look like? And then we were finally able to do that. We were able to have some people in there so that they weren’t just looking at a blank auditorium.”
And, thankfully, that is no longer an issue they have to battle. They’ve created a quicker and more convenient check-in process for speakers as well, though it isn’t any less effective and safe. Dr. Mims also said that “the chapel committee is doing a great job at diversity and having high level of excellence speakers, and… having speakers from every walk of life.”
As we go back to attending chapel in person again, it’s important to remember why we have chapel. Dr. Mims put it best when he said that “having chapel helps us to be intentional. We never drift towards God – we always drift away. Whatever we’re doing in chapel, I enjoy it because it makes me intentional.”