Chaplain Hanna shared these reflections about our recent Captain's Chapel:
What do you do when a group of 8th grade girls comes to you and wants to plan a chapel? You say yes.
What do you do when they then say:
They want to write a song for this chapel? You say yes.
They want to "reveal" next year's school-wide theme at this chapel? You say yes.
They want to pick the reading (1 Corinthians 13, faith, hope, and love) and music (Who am I?, by Casting Crowns, and Lean on Me)? You say yes.
They want to give the message? You say yes.
They want to lead the entire chapel? You say yes!
Then you worry.
You know how difficult it is to be a middle schooler. You know how difficult it is to get up in front of a gym full of people and talk about faith. Talk about a recipe for disaster. . .
Here is what actually happened:
These 8th graders collaborated over the course of several months to prepare to lead a chapel that was meaningful to all our students. They met every Monday with me, giving up lunch and recess with their peers to not only plan this chapel but to help direct and lead the Chapel Council, (a middle school leadership group that formed last year and has 11 active members this year).
These young women call themselves the Chapel Council Captains. I did not ask them to do any of this - they saw an opportunity to lead and took it.
Lauren and Emma wrote a song for this year's schoolwide theme of "Believe" and made a video of the performance which was released at this chapel. Emma and Lauren then encouraged other students to write a song for next year's theme. Emma also wrote and delivered the message based on discussions with the rest of the team. Anastasia worked on the technical aspects of the chapel and supported the group throughout. Caroline edited and produced a video of favorite memories from other 8th graders and their teachers and read the scripture. Madison, who joined in later, provided support and encouragement and helped lead the prayers. They also collaborated behind the scenes--meeting during study halls, emailing ideas, practicing. Every part, down to the way we sat (on the floor, in a circle), was considered, discussed and decided on by these young people.
One teacher wrote to me that she loved every part of this chapel. An underclassman asked if they would be able to lead a chapel when his class is in 8th grade.
For the record, I believe you will hear "The Believe Song" soon as the refrain was being sung in the hallways after chapel that day. Emma delivered a poignant message to her classmates about how they will leave this school with memories and lots of various emotions but the concept to remember is the love that they have shared.
As the chaplain, one of the most important aspects of this calling is to be able to support and encourage others to live to their potential, regardless of their faith tradition. Working on this chapel with these young ladies was a great gift to me. They exhibited grace and maturity beyond their 8th-grade years. Their courage was phenomenal. Their sense of responsibility and compassion shone through during the process and in the chapel. The respect they had for each other even when they differed in opinions was amazing. I would like to say "our work here is done." I am confident that these students are ready to go out into the world to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
- Chaplain Kathy Hanna