Chapel | The Interdenominational Theological Center

Chapel

ITC Chapel Time: A Total Worship Experience

 

Dr. Willie F. Goodman, Chaplain
Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling

 

The institutional philosophy governing Chapel worship and gathering considers this time as one of the most important aspects of life in the ITC community. The ITC Chapel Committee comprised of persons representing the diversity of the community across denomination – faculty, staff, and students – is committed to this philosophy and provides oversight for Chapel worship experiences accordingly.  Often there is the temptation to bypass the experience because of time constraints and personal demands.  However, the Chapel Committee encourages each participating entity to develop its worship services as relational respites in the midst of course and class preparations. Intentional worship and community gathering is needed for students, faculty, staff and administration.

As with worship, our gathered relationship with the Divine is healing and empowering. We are enabled and encouraged to share the nuances of individual spirituality while maintaining the traditions of faith. Adhering to the ITC Mission Statement and institutional goals, Chapel time provides opportunities for purposeful, systematic and intentional convergences of our ecumenical diversity. As painful as diversity may be at times for the faith community, we avail ourselves to the ideal that we do not seek to cultivate assimilation. Somewhere in the worship content preparation, ordering of worship leaders and congregation participation, the presence of the Divine is manifest.  We leave the worship gathering challenged to be a stronger believer in the comprehensive work of Jesus of Nazareth.  We are affirmed in the colloquialism of the Black Church, The blood never loses its power.

As a committee and community, we operate in appreciation that Chapel is the one place that our community assembles to worship God in and through Jesus the Christ. We are able to accomplish this theological feat through the various denominational liturgical traditions and international diversity. Theologically, this means we are often challenged to deepen our theological application as we weigh the theological implication of liberation in response to current geo-political and economic terrain.  The spiritual relevance of these types of interpretive relatedness integrate our individual needs for connection both within and external to this community.

The Chapel experience is often a laboratory. he excitement of the ITC Chapel experience is a demonstrative critical assessment.  The integration of our variable traditions via participation in forums, convocations, and other corporate activities within the Chapel experience underscore our respective traditions while critiquing the necessity of inclusive leadership and language in an on-going effort to eliminate oppression. This is especially significant in the varied expressions of our talk about God.  Discouraged generic use of masculine nouns, pronouns, and adjectives as representative of all humanity is often challenging to students along with our guests.  However, integrating the prospects of faith and interpersonal development is considered one of the greatest feats of testimonial maturation for students. The ITC Chapel experience is a working model for student observation and participation in preparation for reassessing their root traditions and integrating new instruction.

The comprehensive environ of Chapel represents an appreciation for traditional Black Church worship shaped for the needs of cross-generational believers in a seminary. Additionally, Chapel experiences assume presentations that appreciate and support African, African American and other traditions of worship, spiritual development via expansion of the awareness of the Arts and other scholarly endeavors. Such variableness facilitates training within our constituent seminary communities. The associated staff and personnel of our constituent seminary communities and operations of the ITC are also trained to be interpersonally responsive to variable demands for relationships. An undergirding ideal that all experiences are designed to enhance the opportunities of this entire community to utilize knowledge and skills acquired in classroom settings and the surrounding community motivates ITC Chapel preparations.  The intentional convergences of ecumenical diversity ensure that each member of the community is provided access to the total experience and work of ITC.