On Thursday afternoons at 1 o’clock, members of the campus community gather in the sanctuary of the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel for Oklahoma City University’s weekly chapel worship service.
This is sacred time for the school, which protects that one hour of Sabbath each week for worship and self-care. Under the direction of Dr. Charles Neff, dean of the Chapel, speakers vary and include faculty, pastors, alumni, and special guests.
But during the Season of Lent, the Chapel’s oak pulpit is turned over to the religion majors.
"It is a wonderful tradition at OCU that, in their last semester, the senior religion majors have the opportunity to lead worship and bring the message," said Neff.
"This year we are giving the juniors that opportunity, too."
The theme for OCU’s 2017 Lenten remembrance is "Encounters on the Way," and the lectionary texts include Jesus’ encounters with Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the blind man, and Lazarus.
"The theme is intentionally broad to allow students to reflect and preach on the biblical passage, but also from their own experiences while pursuing their calling to ministry," explained Neff.
With his help, each student designs a worship service, including hymns, liturgy, and prayers. The 2017 services also will have the added dimension of being set in the round, with a prayer labyrinth outlined on the Chapel floor.
• Ben Patterson will preach March 2,
• Melaina Riley on March 9,
• Joey Simpson on March 23, and
• Morgan Mitchell on March 30.
Open to the public, each service begins promptly at 1 p.m. Friends, family, and church family of the students are especially encouraged to attend.