Chapel services returned to Wilson with a welcome back service on August 27 and the traditional Wednesday service on Sept. 6. Chapel services in Thomson Hall had been on hiatus since last December while Wilson searched for a new full-time chaplain, but have returned under new full-time chaplain Derek Wadlington.
Pastor Wadlington, recently promoted from his interim position at Wilson, reported that the first regular service of the new school year was a success. Attendance was nearly double the typical average, despite a lack of widespread advertising. He indicated that many members of the Wilson community missed the more formal setting.
The next chapel service will be Oct. 4. Chapel services are now only on the first Wednesday of each month instead of weekly. Pastor Wadlington said this is to reduce the stress on those who would like to attend, but have a hard time fitting it into their busy schedules each week.
“Attendance has dropped greatly over the years. There are many members of the Wilson Community who enjoy formal worship but find it hard to pull themselves away from the daily grind and attend each week,” Wadlington said.
For those seeking weekly religious practice, Wadlington will hold a more casual Bible Study in Sarah’s Coffeehouse called “A Time Set Apart,” that will provide a time and space to discuss issues surrounding the Wilson Community and the wider world in relation to scripture. The first session, held on Sept. 13, maintained the highest attendance figures seen so far. This is a continuation of a student led bible study that replaced chapel last spring and was modestly successful.
“Last year, we had students lead bible studies that were well received. All parts of the community, from students to staff and faculty, came and were willing to talk and listen to one another.”
Although these religious programs are Christian at the core, Wadlington stresses that people of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome to attend and will be accommodated. He hopes that this new religious schedule will bring the Wilson community together to engage each other spiritually and get involved in the wider community. He is also hoping that this will allow him to meet and work with more of the Wilson community as he continues to embrace the new challenges of his full-time position here on campus.
“I am glad to be back and I am hoping to get to know more of the community as I grow in this position.”
He can be found in his office on weekdays in the Lenfest Commons Wellness Center or helping out at Sarah’s Cupboard on the ground floor of Lenfest.