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University News

U. tweaks nondenominational Protestant services

Sunday Worship and Wednesday Inspiration have replaced A Call to Action and Imani Jubilee

Contributing Writer
Thursday, October 31, 2013

The new services feature 30 minute prayer sessions on Sunday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. The time adjustment was made primarily for logistical reasons.

The Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life has replaced its former nondenominational Protestant services with two new ones this year.

Sunday Worship and Wednesday Inspiration: 30 Minutes for Your Soul both begin at 5:30 p.m. in Manning Chapel and last for approximately 30 minutes each. Kirstin Boswell-Ford, associate University chaplain for the Protestant community, oversees the two services. They replace A Call to Worship and Imani Jubilee, which used to take place Sundays at 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.

Sunday Worship follows a more traditional religious format, Boswell-Ford said. This past weekend, a dozen attendees gathered at Manning Chapel for a service that opened with a piano prelude by Henry Chaisson ’15, a Herald video editor, followed by Boswell-Ford’s call to worship. The churchgoers then participated in a “moment of fellowship,” in which they introduced themselves to each other, followed by a singing of “Every Time I Feel the Spirit.”

In the community prayer, special remarks were offered in memory of Michael Dawkins ’13.5, whose death was reported late last week. Attendees then read from the scripture before George Oliver, the services’ music director and a graduate student at the Andover Newton Theological Seminary, delivered a spiritual message and led the closing musical selection, followed by a benediction from Boswell-Ford.

The change from 6 to 5:30 p.m. took place mainly for logistical reasons. Boswell-Ford cited the need to allot more rehearsal time for a new gospel choir, Harmonizing Peace, prior to the start of Catholic Mass. Oliver is also the choir’s musical director.

The move to the new Wednesday time slot arose out of feedback from the Brown community.

“The Wednesday Inspiration, I think, has been exciting just because it’s something that is new — just in its format,” Boswell-Ford said. “But it’s also responding to another need that was brought to me by faculty and staff, saying that having all of our services on a Sunday is difficult because, a lot of times, they’re gone on Sunday.” She also noted that most seminar classes end at 5:20 p.m., so the new time would be convenient for students seeking a mid-week service.

Though Wednesday Inspiration also contains music and singing, Boswell-Ford said it is intentionally more subdued than the Sunday service and meant to be a time of reflection. Each week, a member of the Brown community is invited to speak about what matters to him or her.

David Sherry, the University’s chief information security officer and co-director of Brown’s Staff Christian Fellowship, was the speaker at yesterday’s service.

“Like a lot of us, the first thing I think of when that question is posed to me is my family,” Sherry said.

He went on to speak about the importance of reflection, in spite of the craziness the work calendar may bring. “It matters to me that I try to be the best that I can be every day and try to get better every day,” he said. “Some days I’m successful, some days I’m not.”

Kevin Venturini, manager of financial system training and education in the Controller’s Office, attended the Protestant service Wednesday despite his Catholic faith, citing the importance of understanding the beliefs of others. The Wednesday evening time slot also fit better into his schedule, he added.

“I think (the service) will grow. The music is beautiful. I’m a big music lover,” he said.


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