Duane Bonifer  |   Published August 31, 2016

Building community

College’s weekly chapel services a way to bring people together
  • Rev. Dr. Teri Ott
Monmouth College’s weekly chapel service not only provides an opportunity for the College and area residents to worship together, it also helps build community at the liberal arts college.

That’s how Monmouth Chaplain the Rev. Dr. Teri Ott approaches the weekly ecumenical service, which is held 12:10-12:40 p.m. every Monday during the academic year in Dahl Chapel. The service is open to students, faculty, staff and area residents.

“I am a big believer that worship is a community-building moment,” Ott said. “You get to hear from faculty, staff and students. They give messages that show a side of them that you normally don’t hear in the classrooms or in the hallways.”

Ott said that building community through the chapel service, both on campus and beyond, has been one of her goals since she came to the College six years ago.

“I’ve wanted to make it a community moment, kind of a pause in the middle of the day, for us to reconnect with one another as human beings and connect with our purpose for being here,” she said.

And by holding chapel during the noon hour, Ott said that increases the opportunity to build community.

“The noon hour appeals to faculty and staff and community members, and I think it’s good for the students to see us gathering as faculty and staff,” she said. “It’s more of a feel of real community. It’s a diverse community, and it shows that we’re all in this together – we all have to make this world better together.”

In the past, Monmouth’s weekly chapel service has followed the lectionary calendar. Ott said this year it will follow the narrative lectionary, which begins with the Creation story.

Ott said that the weekly chapel service also honors the College’s founders, the Revs. James Porter and Robert Ross, who were Presbyterian ministers.

“Their call came from God to found a college and to provide an education that would uplift this community and society in general,” said Ott of Porter and Ross, whose portraits now hang in the chapel foyer. “So we honor our founders when we continue this tradition of worship and prayer and community-building.”
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