Hi, my name is Melanie Dittmer, and I am a freshman Biology major at LeTourneau University. I’m here to tell you about a central aspect of student life here at LETU. If you were to come onto campus on a Monday,Wednesday, and Friday a little before 10:50, you would see an interestingsight: flocks of LeTourneau students migrating towards a big building in thecorner of our property: the S.E. Belcher Jr. Chapel and Performing Arts Center.While the citizens of Longview know of this place only as a performance hall,to students it is something else: chapel. Every student at LeTourneau must have a certain number of chapel credits each semester in order to graduate, so it is no surprise that everyone drops what they are doing three mornings a week and heads to one of the biggest buildings on campus.
Despite the fact that chapel is a required “class,” I still thoroughly enjoy it. Every semester there are a large variety of chapels, and all of them are very well put together. Chapel usually consists of one of three types of services. The first is a worship service. Several times a semester, one of the student-led worship teams will mount the stage and lead the student body in a chorus of praise songs. It is an incredible experience to worship like this with your friends surrounding you. The second type of chapel service LETU presents involves a speaker. In this type of service, a worship band will normally play a few songs and then someone will speak on a topic. Our speakers include professors and faculty from the school and also guests who LeTourneau invites. The third type of chapel service is the most diverse, and probably the most popular. It is the “special events” service. On these days, LETU will bring in a special group to perform for us. Examples of some chapel guests we have had this semester are: the Annie Moses Band, Shaun Groves, Black Violin, and a student choir and jazz band. There are many more exciting chapel events lined up for the rest of the semester as well.
As a student, I have the opportunity to be involved in chapel myself. I do this through the Jazz Band. Last week, we were able to play some beautiful worship songs for the student body during chapel. We were accompanied by the choir. Both these groups, jazz band and choir, are almost entirely made up of student musicians and vocalists. It was an incredible experience to sit onstage at the Belcher Center and lead my fellow students in worship.
Although it may seem like a tedious commitment to make throughout college life, chapel is, in fact, interesting and enjoyable. I consider it a welcome change of pace, a break from a busy day. There are a variety of different services, and each is unique and fun in its own way. Student participation is highly encouraged, which is a great characteristic. More than anything, it is simply a time where the LeTourneau student body can come together and worship, and this is one of the greatest attributes that I believe a Christian college can have.