“Community” is 2022-23 Theme

July 13, 2022 / Andrea Wenger
Members of the 2021-22 Chapel Planning Committee
Members of the 2021-22 Chapel Planning Committee

When members of the Chapel Planning Committee brainstormed this past spring about a theme for the 2022-23 school year, it didn’t take long to land on the word “community.”

The theme will be a general guide for speakers in Chapel (grades 6-12) and elementary Gathering, and can be used as a “jumping off point” for a lot of input. “We want to hear diverse voices from local and global settings,” they said, noting their interest in hearing broad perspectives from many denominations and faith traditions.

Community is a theme that can be taken many directions. What does it mean to be part of a community? What happens when we don’t have community around us? How does a church family provide community? How can you be an active “giver” in community and a gracious recipient? What is a time that you experienced community?

Rev. Edward Scott of Allen Chapel AME in Staunton speaks on MLK Day 2022

Special focus on area pastors

Paul Leaman, head of school, will invite pastors of the 53 churches from which EMS has students to speak in chapels at least two times a month. He hopes to hear pastors share about their church community and include “stories that help students understand the value and blessing of being part of a church family.”

Pastors who would like to speak in Chapel or Gathering this year, are invited to complete this form. Other friends, alumni, community members who would like to offer to speak in chapel may email chapel@easternmennonite.org or gathering@easternmennonite.org.

About 10 high school students serve on the Chapel Planning Committee, meeting monthly over lunch to share feedback, ideas and take on planning assignments. The students work with staff advisors Andrea Wenger and Debbie Katz to issue invitations, introduce speakers, write thank you cards, and take part in student-led chapels.

As COVID restrictions began to lift in the 2021-22 school year, students worked with Jared Stutzman, music teacher and choral director, to plan and help lead music chapels. The students were happy for the return to making and appreciating music together after the COVID hiatus, and asked for more of those in the coming year.

You can watch a livestream of most Chapel services and see past services on the EMS Chapel YouTube channel here.



Check out some more photos from this story

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