Story Magazine - First Quarter, 2008
Chapel Broadcast Brings Luther to You
by Shelley Cunningham, '98, M.Div.
Seminary Pastor John Mann (left) leads chapel service, assisted by Professor Emeritus Michael Rogness.
"I always try to watch it live when I can. It's the most powerful feeling, like we're all in the arms of Jesus, all sharing his love together," says Cone, a lay person living in Fremont, Neb. "Knowing God's love is so enormous that we are all part of it makes me feel like I'm really a part of that community right then, even though I'm hundreds of miles away."
Cone discovered the chapel link while browsing the Luther Seminary Web site last year, and quickly discovered how important it was for her to spend time in worship during the week. Every weekday at 10 a.m., Luther Seminary faculty, staff, students and even neighborhood residents gather for singing, prayer and a piece of biblical wisdom. These services are broadcast online while classes are in session, from September through May.
Cone especially appreciates the rich music during chapel, and the different voices she hears from the pulpit.
"The preachers have such different styles, which I don't get as much going to the same church every week. Sometimes their messages have brought me to tears. And sometimes they're just so funny that I can't help laughing out loud."
Cone's physical absence doesn't weaken her experience. Though she can't be there in person, she participates as best she can from home.
"When they pray the Lord's Prayer, I pray the Lord's Prayer," she says. "My eyes are closed, and we're all one. There's such a feeling of unity and strength."
Each Wednesday, while the assembled worshippers are taking communion, Cone prays for the people she sees on the screen.
"I pray for the students and the faculty members, for the churches they'll serve and for what God is doing through them," she says. "I've always prayed for the seminaries, but getting to see what they're doing through worship really makes those prayers seem real."
More information about chapel online
*Past worship services are available through the chapel's online archives. They're catalogued by day, and available in both video and audio-only formats for listening on a computer. There are also podcasts of both the entire services, and just the lessons and sermons, that can be downloaded for MP3 players.
*The only things you need to view the archives are the Flash Player browser plugin and Windows Media Player, which are both free. Links to download both programs are on www.luthersem.edu/chapel.
*On average, each daily chapel video archive is viewed about 65 times in the month after it is aired, says Jim Dudley, Luther Seminary Web manager.