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CONTENT & DESIGN
Chapel at CTS is intended to create regularly shared worship space open to our community. CTS students, faculty, and staff sign up to plan chapel, usually as student organizations or institutional offices, though individuals may also sign up on their own. Because CTS celebrates interreligious engagement and ecumenical partnership chapels may celebrate various religious traditions including those of non-Christian faith. Each chapel service is guided by a specific theme or intention.
It is rare that any two CTS chapel services are the same. That being said, there are some things that commonly appear in a chapel service: music and/or other forms of art, reading of sacred texts, prayer, etc. For help brainstorming ideas for your chapel service, please contact the Community Life Assistant, the Director of Community Life or CTS Professor of Worship, Scott Haldeman.
- Recognize that your tradition is “particular” and not everyone who comes to chapel shares it. It may be helpful to speak briefly about your tradition(s) at the outset, or in the printed program. Since our community is largely comprised of different denominations of Christianity, it helps to dispel Christian privilege and also highlights the diversity within Christianity.
- Make an effort to include others who do not share your faith. An example of how this has been done in closing a prayer is: “I come to you in Jesus’ name, even as each person here comes in the way You have made Yourself known to them.” This allowed the leader to speak out of her particularity while making room for people who orient around faith differently. (Admittedly, it may not make room for secular humanism.)
- When we have a chapel that also serves as an institutional ceremony (e.g. convocation or graduation), we make a greater effort to speak from and to our diverse traditions. It does not mean speaking only from common ground, but it does mean being more sensitive to exclusive language or imagery and seeking out multifaith participation and liturgical/musical voice.
TIME & PLACE
Wednesday Community Chapel is our main community gathering, which is followed by Community Lunch where the entire community gathers to break bread together. Community Chapels may encompass more formal institutional occasions such as convocation or Field Ed commissioning, cultural or liturgical commemorations or less formal themes, talks or other forms of communal celebration. Community Chapels are typically led by members of the community, but often include guest speakers and/or artists. Wednesday Community Chapel is held in the 4th Floor Chapel and may begin as soon as noon. However, we suggest planning for a starting time of 12:05 to accommodate worshippers coming from classes ending at noon. “Gathering Music” or prayer stations can be a nice way to provide a gradual start to the service. Please plan on concluding your service no later than 1:00 pm. All Community Chapels are live-streamed and archived for viewing and participation of our online and commuter students.
A planning meeting to review the details of your service must be held with the Director of Community Life and Community Life Assistant(s) at on the Tuesday two weeks prior to your planned chapel service. This meeting will ensure we have everything you need for a successful and organized chapel. Should Tuesday not work with your schedule please contact the Director of Community Life prior to that Tuesday to schedule an alternative time. All meetings must occur at least two weeks in advance of your scheduled worship date. At this meeting, please be prepared to discuss music, liturgy, speakers, prayers, participants, setup and any other elements of your service. A checklist to assisting you with planning those elements is contained below. Should your meeting not take place, the Office of Community Life will make alternate plans for your scheduled chapel service. Please note that CTS does not wish to exercise this option, however, when worship planning does not happen it may be necessary in order to maintain the continuity of chapel in alignment with CTS standards.
Should you have any questions along the way please feel free to reach out to the Director of Community Life.
Musicians will need to be arranged for each service and paid for their time. We typically pay our pianists a set fee of $150. This fee is charged to the planning organization. Since CTS does not employ a staff musician, the Director of Community Life usually makes a tentative schedule with local musicians in advance to ensure we have someone available. If you have specific needs please discuss them at or prior to your planning meeting so that appropriate arrangements can be made. A list of local musicians that have worked with CTS in the past is available through the Community Life Office. If you need help finding musicians, please inform the Director of Community Life or the Community Life Assistant at least two weeks in advance. All musicians are paid through check request forms. These forms are available at CTS or the finance section of MYCTS on the CTS website. To ensure timely payments are made, completed check requests must be turned in by 12 pm on the Monday of the week before your chapel service. Because all chapel services are recorded and streamed live (see note below), we may only publish music in chapel that is either in the public domain or is covered by our current licensing. Most hymns fall into one of these two categories, but newer music may not.
If you have any questions, please email our Director of Community Life,
FURNITURE & AUDIOVISUAL (A/V) NEEDS
The Department of Community Life works closely with the Facilities Department to ensure things are set up as you want them to be. The Facilities Department will arrange the chapel furniture and set up any A/V equipment necessary for your service. This includes microphones. In order for those accessing chapel online to be able to hear, all chapel participants should plan to use microphones at all times for themselves and their instruments. Please detail your setup requests during your planning meeting or email your specifications for furniture, microphones, and any other A/V needs to the Director of Community Life by 9 am on the Thursday before your service. Community Life also keeps a variety of fabrics, candles, and other worship supplies in the Sacristy. For access to these items, please see the Community Life Assistant.
Programs are helpful to both the worshippers and the staff preparing for your service. The Community Life Assistant is responsible for preparing them for Wednesday Community Chapel. Programs are distributed to worshippers entering the chapel and emailed for live-stream participant use. As we try to engage our online community it is helpful to have a PowerPoint of the service that gives the order of service, words to hymns (only those that we have license to use i.e. hymns, public domain, etc. can be broadcast), responsive readings, etc. These elements will be discussed during your Chapel Planning Meeting and the Community Life Assistant will also help you in accomplishing your desired goal for both the program and the PowerPoint in accordance with CTS media guidelines.
So that online and on-campus students can access chapel, all services will be streamed live, recorded, and archived online (with limited exceptions). All service participants must agree to be recorded. Members of the CTS community have already done this, but any guest participants should sign a Photo Release Form.
Download the Photo Release Form (below) and return completed originals to the Community Life Assistant or the Communications Team.