Advent Devotional 2021

 Spiritual Life 

As you know, one of the wonderful things about George Fox University is that faith in Jesus is central to the educational experience. As we prepare to offer students a chapel experience that will be spiritually nourishing, while also keeping our community’s physical health a priority in our pandemic reality, there are few things we would love for you to know as we begin the new year:

  • Faith formation will continue to be a central and enriching part of the student experience at George Fox, especially during the pandemic.
  • Spiritual Life Credit: We are broadening our required chapel program to include additional meaningful spiritual practices in order to meet the unique spiritual needs of students during the pandemic. Whereas historically our chapel program has existed to bring our community together in the worship of God, this year we will also add spiritual formation experiences that are less dependent on large gatherings and which will nourish our students in these unique days (e.g., small group Bible study, spiritual retreat, prayer experiences, bible memorization, spiritual direction, service, and others.) In order to reflect the breadth of the experience, the name of the program will change from “Chapel credit” to “Spiritual Life credit” for this academic year.
  • 15 Credits Per Semester: Students are expected to participate in 15 chapel experiences each semester--or one per week. (Note: this is a slight modification. In the 2019-2020 year, students were required to participate in 30 chapels by the end of the year, but due to the pandemic, we are asking students to plan their attendance by semester, not by year.) For students who have completed 93 academic units prior to the beginning of the year and have senior standing, spiritual life credits are a strongly recommended, but optional experience.
  • An Abundance of Opportunities: We will offer 3-10 different experiences each week that can meet the spiritual life requirement.  (Students can participate in one per week to fulfill their requirement.)
    • Our classic chapel experiences will continue!  (In accordance with regulations, we will offer these services weekly via live-stream, podcast, or in-person by reservation).  
    • This year, as a component of the new spiritual life credit, there will be no distinction between our large community chapels and our elective options. Each of our offerings will be equally eligible for credit. You may participate in 15 options of your choosing.
    • Our greatest hope is that students will encounter Jesus in this new semester! We are creating many exciting opportunities that will enable students to experience other spiritual disciplines and which will invite students into ongoing relationships with spiritual mentors on campus. We will announce our spiritual life credit offerings each month, so as regulations change, we can provide soul-nourishing offerings and gatherings that are best suited for our current situation.
    • We are working with academic departments and affinity groups to offer small in-person gatherings and opportunities.
    • We are aware that singing in groups poses a greater risk for spread of Covid-19 and in all of our spiritual life offerings, we will err on the side of extreme caution.
    • We will offer both hybrid and online Life Group Bible studies available to all students. This year we will offer Spiritual Life credit for Life Groups.
  • Clear Communication: Students will find a comprehensive list of Spiritual Life credit opportunities on our chapel webpage, in the Daily Bruin e-newsletter, and on our @gfuspil instagram account.

It is our sincere hope and prayer that our students experience the love, knowledge, and presence of Jesus Christ at George Fox.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if we may be of support to you.

Peace be with you,
The University Pastors

Read more about our Chapel curriculum here