On Sunday, December 4, Alma College’s Dunning Memorial Chapel held a holiday service, “Lessons and Carols”.
Unlike the chapel’s normal services, the holiday service did not follow the traditional service order. Instead, the event featured Christmas carols and seasonal scripture readings.
According to Associate Protestant Chaplain Katrina Pekich-Bundy, the chapel staff and volunteers put a lot of planning and rehearsal into the special holiday event.
“I [played] in a trio for the service, [and read] a passage of scripture . . . Students [chose] hymns and scripture for this service, and we have many talented musicians who participate who are staff and students,” said Pekich- Bundy. “This is a service with many moving parts, so it is often rehearsed in advance.”
Pekich-Bundy feels it is important for members of the campus community to be able to come together to celebrate the holiday season.
“The Christmas season and story are important to Christians, and it is equally important we experience it as a community,” said Pekich-Bundy. “Some students have that community at a local congregation where they will go home over break, but some do not. This service allows the Alma College Chapel community to celebrate Christmas together.”
Regardless of the kind of role you want to play in the events, Pekich-Bundy believes there is a place for anyone who wants to get involved in chapel activities and everyone is welcome.
“If a student is interested in chapel activities, we’d love to have you join us. Students can follow us on social media and request to be added to the Chapel email list,” said Pekich-Bundy. “There are many opportunities to use your gifts, such as musicians, liturgist, hospitality and more. Feel free to reach out to myself or Rev. Alissa Davis.”
Elizabeth Vredevelt (’24) has volunteered at the chapel since her first year at Alma College. This year, Vredevelt is excited to be an official chapel staff member.
“[I was] involved with the worship planning side of the service which [consisted] of coordinating musicians and rehearsing for the special occasion,” said Vredevelt. Vredevelt is grateful for the opportunities she has had through spiritual life at Alma College. She feels these experiences have helped her through the challenges that can come with being a busy college student. “Through my time at Alma, being involved in chapel and worship has kept me grounded in my faith and helped centered me,” said Vredevelt.
“It’s easy to lose a sense of identity in college when there are so many changes and stress around us as students. Being involved in something like chapel encourages us [to] focus on something bigger than ourselves.” Vredevelt encourages other students to attend spiritual life events. No matter what you want to take away from the experience, Vredevelt believes these events are worthwhile resource for many students.
“Spiritual life at Alma is truly whatever you make of it and will meet you where you’re at. If you need to come and just be encouraged, you are welcome to observe and heal,” said Vredevelt. “If your cup is full and you’re ready to give back through volunteering or serving, opportunities abound. All are welcome at the table.”
Justice Cuddie (’25) has enjoyed the opportunity to work on multiple chapel related projects throughout their time at Alma College.
“I have been involved with Chapel since day one here at Alma. I worked with the Interfaith program last year, I volunteer when it’s available and I attend services often,” said Cuddie. “I have led worship gatherings and was also a part of Rev. Alissa’s installation service here.”
Cuddie believes that events like “Lessons and Carols” are good opportunities for students, even if they don’t have the time or desire to make chapel activities a regular part of their schedule.
Cuddie also feels it is important to emphasize that chapel activities are open to students of all religious faiths.
“I believe chapel activities are worthwhile for . . . students because it’s a low-commitment way to have community and feed your soul. Even if you only attend chapel every once in a while, you are greeted with warm smiles and open arms to build your spiritual path,” said Cuddie. “. . . We have services and spaces available for students of many different faiths.”