Campus Pastor's Office Chapel
We believe that loving God is essential to living a good and authentic life. Jesus is at the center of everything, so we gather regularly as a community to be reminded of the God of love, to turn our hearts, minds, and souls towards Him, and to seek Him together. We worship, reflect, pray, and learn from Him as a community.
Our mission is to connect with God and with one another, and to be equipped to engage the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.
We, as a diverse community, gather together to live into unity and experience Christ together. Through diversified worship and teaching, we practice listening to the broad collective voice of the Global Church, and the Church throughout the ages.
We are invited to gather in Murchison Gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday's from 10:30-11:20 am.
Chapel is mandatory for all students of Westmont College (regardless of their class or semester).
Chapel brings the community together for worship. Through exposure to different styles of worship, we learn to appreciate various forms and traditions of worship and expression.
Chapel promotes a community with a distinctive purpose and sense of identity. It is the only time the entire community gathers together on a regular basis.
Students are encouraged to participate in a local church community. Some churches send buses, shuttles and vans to the campus on Sunday morning to help students have access to Sunday services. Santa Barbara has a rich and vibrant Christian community.
The Nancy Voskuyl Prayer Chapel is a place to spend time with God and to pray and meditate in a quiet place away from noise and distractions. Read a history of the prayer chapel.
Chapel & Campus Pastor's Office Information
Elective Chapels are not mandatory, but offer students another option for Chapel credit. Each Elective Chapel you attend counts as one Chapel credit. Elective Chapels are open to ALL classes (except for the Seniors Only Elective Chapels).
Why do we gather together for chapel? Why do we do it three times every week?
When I was a kid I asked a lot of “Why?” questions. Why did I have to eat chard? Why did I have to take a shower? Why did I have to learn algebra? The answer was usually something about it “being good for me.” Hardly compelling to a young boy who believes he will live forever. It turns out they were right. Said activities have been good for me, even if that hasn’t always been the most compelling answer at the time. I would have benefited from some overarching meta-narrative that would have had me running to eat chard in the shower.
So, why do we get together for chapel as a community? Why do we do it three times every week? Good questions.
After one of Peter’s first sermons over 3,000 people committed themselves to following Jesus. Acts 2:42 describes how they responded: “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” When people become captivated by Jesus we immediately get immersed in a community of people who are on a similar journey.
The trajectory of the journey will lead us to become people who have encountered God’s love so much that we become transformed people--people shaped by love. The journey itself is intended to be communal. Encountering fellow sojourners will do more to shape our experience of the love of God than anything else. They will challenge us, sharpen us, annoy us, stretch us, expose us, encourage us, pick us up, and compel us to keep going. So we gather together.
Likewise we have voluntarily chosen as a community to come together and devote ourselves to scriptural teaching, which is meant to introduce us to the incredible love of God in Christ, and inspire us to pursue living in such a way that he will be first in all things and in all ways. We don’t by nature default into wisdom and faithfulness. We are frail creatures often duped by our idols and our own selves. Scripture has a way of connecting us to the bigger story of God, and putting things in their right place. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). We need to have our minds re-made by the love of God. So we gather.
Growing in love is not solely an academic or intellectual process. It does not neglect the mind, indeed the love of God sets our minds ultimately free and propels us toward our greatest capacity and potential. When people become captivated by God’s love it is a whole-self response and process. When Jesus was asked what the greatest command was, and what was most important, he replied, “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord: and you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-33). So everytime we get together for chapel we are hoping to create space to let the Lord teach us, reach us, and inspires us to love him with our whole selves, and to learn how to love one another, and all our neighbors in the world. So we gather.
When we gather we are going to move beyond any one of our personal preferences, styles, and comforts. We are hoping to include many expressions of how God’s people worship him, learn from him, and express ourselves back to him. We will learn new songs, and belt familiar ones. We will learn old prayers and pray new ones. We will learn from one another, bless one another, pray for one another, and learn how to worship God next to one another, as a community. We were made for relationship with God, so we are going to pray. Augustine said that, “When we sing, we pray twice.” So we are going to sing. We were made to worship God. So we gather.
We will also be hospitable hosts to a myriad of guests who will come to bless, challenge, encourage, and teach us. Some will have a profound impact on you, and you will remember them as long as you live. Others you will quickly forget, but your neighbor will be impacted. Either way, we will warmly welcome those who have come to share their hearts with us. We will endeavor to transcend the culture’s lack of tolerance for differing voices. We will hear from brothers and sisters who are like us, and those who are different than us. So we gather.
God has a plan to transform us into people that look like Jesus--people whose lives have been overtaken by love. He wants to teach us how to live lives that reflect the school motto--”Christus Primatum Tenens” (Christ first in all things) that reflects the foundational truth of Colossians 1:18, “So that in everything [Christ] might have the supremacy.” This is hard work and it is beautiful work. It is slow work, and the journey is never a straight line. So we gather, and we gather regularly. For thousands of years God’s people have put regular rhythms in place to help draw them back to being available to being shaped by God’s love. So our community gathers three times a week to make ourselves available together. It is a unique opportunity. We encourage you to lean in, and enthusiastically enter the time expecting that God will use it to bless you, bless others, challenge and equip you to bless others. It won’t happen every time, but there is a power in making yourself regularly available. So we gather, and God is pleased to be with us.
Chapel services are like the family meal, the one gathering to which everyone is invited. In chapel we encounter the value of the various and diverse members of the Westmont family, past, present and even future. Day to day, amid the busyness of a packed schedule, chapel can be a way to ground ourselves, remember, belong, and become available to the overwhelming love of God.
We will gather, and it will be good for us!
"The Lord Bless You and Keep You"
A Note from Dr. Michael Shasberger
We have begun the process of teaching the entire student body the Peter Lutkin setting of the benediction from Numbers 6, "The Lord Bless You and Keep You," so that our community can sing it in Chapel and in other settings. We sang it last semester in the Student Award's Chapel and again at Baccalaureate and it was beautiful. In preparation for singing it together this year, please feel free to download the attached pdf to rehearse on your own whenever you would like. If you want private coaching, I'd be happy to help, or you can visit one of these youtube postings to learn it from your personal computer:
Music will be provided whenever it is sung in Chapel, but you are welcome to print and bring your own copy with you.
Download a pdf copy of the benediction.
May the Lord truly bless and keep each of you,
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in a small group? Capax Dei (loosely translated, "Space for God"), is the name for the community of small groups that meets during the school year, sponsored by the Westmont Campus Pastor's Office and the Westmont Center for Spiritual Formation. These groups are designed to be a place where you can learn to hear the voice of God in Scripture, make lifelong friendships, and find peace in the midst of sometimes busy and hectic lives. Want to know more? Check out this short informational video!
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact Eben Drost (Worship Team Director) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Groups are built on a first-come, first-served basis.
Westmont Chapel Mission Statement
Chapel services are an integral part of our regular communal rhythm of worship and word, reminding us to orient our lives around Christ and His kingdom. Loving God and one another is our highest calling, so we worship, reflect, pray, and learn from Him as a community.
Our mission is to connect with God and with one another,
and to be equipped to engage the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.
As a community, we worship with the Church around the world and the Church throughout the ages. We listen to a variety of voices and sing songs and pray prayers written by a diversity of people and Christian traditions.
We gather in Murchison Gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30-11:20 am.
Chapel is mandatory for all students of Westmont College (regardless of their class, including 2nd-semester seniors). At Westmont, the formation of the life of the mind is inseparable from the life of the heart and soul. Chapel is, therefore, an essential component of your education at Westmont. We come together for worship three times a week because gathering in the presence of the living God transforms how we think, act, live, and love.
Christ is our message! We preach to awaken hearts and bring every person into the full understanding of truth. It is our passion to present everyone mature in Christ (Col 1:27-29).
Chapel Attendance Policy
The regular rhythm of chapel is a vital distinctive part of the Westmont educational experience. Therefore, every effort will be made to help students prioritize participation in chapel and to work through whatever issues preclude them from fully participating in our worshiping community. Chapel is required, but twelve chapel absences are permitted each semester (almost one per week). These twelve absences may be used to sleep, study, recover from illness, for doctor's appointments, non-school related trips, irregular work schedules, interviews, car trouble, trips to the airport, etc.
Students have ample opportunities to manage their chapel attendance and ensure they do not miss more than the 12 allowed misses each semester at Westmont. In addition to the regularly scheduled chapels on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, the Campus Pastor’s Office also delineates “elective chapels” throughout the semester. These alternatives include various evening events or other approved worship or Bible study options—each one attended by a student replaces one of their regular chapel misses. Students can view their chapel attendance record in real-time through the my.westmont.edu portal.
You are Responsible
It is each student’s responsibility to monitor their chapel attendance record, manage their chapel attendance wisely over the course of each semester, and proactively communicate with the Campus Pastor’s Office (email@example.com) if they believe there is an error in their attendance record or if they experience any special circumstances which are impacting their ability to regularly attend chapel. Chapel attendance is overseen by the Campus Pastor's Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Dean of Students.
"Manage yourself so that nobody else has to."
-Coach John Wooden
What Happens if a Student Exceeds Their Allowed Misses?
Most Westmont students go through their entire college career without needing to know the answer to this question. However, if you exceed the allowed 12 misses, additional action on your part is required to ensure your continued enrollment at the college. Keep reading below.
If you have special circumstances that you believe will preclude you from participating in enough chapels, you may go online to the Chapel Attendance page on our website and fill out the Proactive Chapel Appeal form for that semester. Your appeal will be either approved or denied and will be communicated to you.
Chapel Appeal Form:
If you have exceeded the allowed chapel misses you may appeal one or more misses through filling out the Chapel Appeal Form on the Chapel Attendance page on our website. Your appeal will be either approved or denied and will be communicated to you. If a student is unable to resolve the number of misses needed through the appeal process, they are required to meet with the Campus Pastor (or designee) to discuss the reasons why the student exceeded the allowed misses.
Chapel Attendance Statuses
The following statuses are assigned to students after each semester and apply to the following semester:
Student did not exceed the 12 allowed misses and participated appropriately in chapel.
Student is cautioned to maintain appropriate Chapel participation in future semesters because they exceeded the 12 allowed misses during the semester for the first time. Students are only allowed on Chapel Warning status one time in their Westmont career.
Student is advised that failing to maintain appropriate Chapel participation the following semester will likely result in a semester suspension from the college. Students are generally placed on Chapel Probation after exceeding the 12 allowed misses in multiple semesters, for failing to meet with the Campus Pastor after exceeding the 12 allowed misses for the first time, or if the student’s chapel attendance was deemed egregious. If a student is on Chapel Probation they may lose priority order in registering for the next semester’s classes, and it could impact their ability to participate in student leadership positions and/or Global Education programs. If a student has been on Chapel Probation twice during their time at Westmont, they may be moved to Suspension.
Student is suspended from the college for one semester. This generally occurs when a student demonstrates through their behavior a persistent lack of commitment to fulfilling the college’s chapel requirement either by repeatedly exceeding the allowed chapel misses for a semester and/or not meeting with the Campus Pastor or Dean of Students to resolve their excessive misses. Suspended students may reapply to the college in a subsequent semester and may meet with a Student Life staff member as part of the reapplication process.
Chapel Status for Semester Abroad and Leaves of Absence
During a semester in an off-campus program or while on a leave of absence, the student’s chapel status is “paused.” For example, if a student is placed on Chapel Warning status the semester prior to being off campus, the student would begin the semester back on campus still on Chapel Warning status. If a student is on Chapel Warning or Chapel Probation status, he or she can return to Good Participation status only by meeting the minimum chapel attendance requirements the semester they return to campus.
If a student withdraws for a semester or more while he or she is on Chapel Warning or Chapel Probation status, they may be required to have a conversation with the Campus Pastor as part of their reapplication process to ensure an understanding of the chapel attendance policy and ensure their commitment to participate as articulated in this policy. The student returns to the chapel status they were on when they left the college.
Decisions on chapel status are made at the sole discretion of the Campus Pastor (or designee) and (in some instances) the Dean of Students and are not appealable.
Students who are found to be cheating on their chapel attendance or disrespecting the space by their behavior or disengagement (phones, computers, studying, sleeping, etc.) will be required to meet with the Campus Pastor, and it could affect their chapel status the following semester.
Campus Pastor's Office Staff
“Jamie and I have been absolutely captivated by Jesus, and invested in by a community of faith. Our passion is to lead people into vibrant authentic relationships with Jesus Christ and with each other. It is our joy to be available to and invest in leaders and seekers alike.”
"My desire is to encourage a culture of worship that is faithful to Christ, in harmony with Westmont’s mission and values, theologically rich, multicultural, and artistically creative. I hope that the work I am a part of will stand as an "Ebenezer" -- an enduring monument to God's faithfulness (1 Sam 7:12)"
"I am humbled and blessed to serve God alongside a community of believers who worship Christ in their work and lives. I pray that Jesus' name be lifted high in the hearts of every student and staff member at Westmont and that His gospel would be heard throughout the campus"