uGather and uWorship
Union College is instituting a change in worship services for the 2019-2020 school year.
One program, uGather, will be a different form of what was chapel, and will be on Thursdays during the 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. time slot. There are hopes of changing the entire Tuesday/Thursday schedule by second semester as an 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. slot will work better for uGather and the student population. The move to Thursday was mostly inspired by the hope of bringing speakers in for a PowerPac weekend and having them talk at uGather.
Programming is meant to go for around 35 minutes. Announcements will not be made up front but will insteadbe on the screens in the sanctuary. As the program starts, the first 10 minutes will be dedicated to community building which will be a time to discuss what’s happening on campus. “We don’t currently have a platform where people can get up and talk about what’s going on at our school,” stated Kim Canine.
Next there will be 20 minutes of praise and worship. “We need a time where our campus comes together to connect,” commented Canine when asked what inspired the change. Pastor Rich Carlson added, “It started two years ago with the realization that we have no community venue. There’s no time when the whole school family can get together.”
The school has gone through multiple rounds of approvals including: student senate, presidents council, academic council, faculty senate, multiple student focus groups and the campus ministries team all of which voted to move forward with the program.
Frustrations were voiced by many Union students on Twitter following the announcement of uGather. Most were concerned about the mandatory aspect of these meetings. Everyone on Union’s campus will be obligated to be at uGather. “We’re exploring what the outcomes will be for not meeting the requirements. If anyone has suggestions I’d love them to email me,” Canine remarked. Both Canine and Carlson have said there will have to be exceptions to that rule, but it will be on a case to case basis.
Out of the 15 weeks per semester students will have a few “freebies” they won’t have to attend. When reflecting on the program Carlson said, “I believe so much in the “Spirit of Union” but have been struggling with how to keep that “spirit” alive and well as we all seem pulled in so many directions. Just 40 minutes a week we can come together and connect as a family.”
The school is also in talks about instituting a second program which will be called uWorship. Current talks have this program requiring all students to get one worship credit a week which will be self-guided and more open than the current program. “We want you to connect with God your way,” commented Canine.
While there will be forms online for people to fill out each week for their self-guided worships, students will still be encouraged to participate in programs on campus and scanners will be available at those events for the people who don’t want to remember to fill out the form every week.
Heart Scan will be counted as credits with the uWorship program, which is planned to begin Fall 2019.
Maegan Luckiesh is a senior studying graphic design.