A personal devotional life is always a blessing. At the Chapel, we’re ready to help you maintain your present devotional life or make a fresh start on one. Here are just a few resources that are available to every member of the University community. You are also welcome to stop in the Chapel to pray even when worship services are not in process.
You can take a spiritual inventory here and learn about yourself.
The university offers a series of retreats throughout the year that lead participants in the disciplines of prayer and spiritual discernment, especially in the area of life vocation. Here is the next one:
Life Tree Contemplative Retreat – Oct. 6-7, 2017
Come for a moment of resting in God’s love. Come for a time of prayer, listening, reflection, and fellowship. All are welcome! Transportation and food provided. No fee. Capacity is 30 students.
Registration Deadline: Friday, September 29, 2017.
Sponsored by the Valparaiso University Center for Church Vocations of Campus Ministries.
For 2017-18, SIS (Sisters in Spirit), BRO (Brothers Reaching Out) and other organizations offer regular Bible Study. BRO meets Sundays for dinner & discussions at 5 p.m. at the Helge Center. Contact Matt Korus for more info on BRO. SIS meets at 7 p.m. Thursdays in Guild Memorial residence hall in the SIS lounge. Contact SIS presidents Megan Schrock or Paige Krohn for more info. Chi Alpha meets Sundays at 7:30 p.m. in the Union Brown and Gold Room, offering a joint Bible study with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Advisor for Chi Alpha is Heath Carter. IVCF’s weekly meetings are Mondays at 6:30 p.m. in the Helge Center multipurpose room. For more info, contact Advisor Stan Zygmunt. CRU (Campus Crusade) has weekly meetings (Bible study, worship and Christian fellowship) on Mondays at 8 p.m. at Mueller Hall, Room LL10. For more information on CRU, contact Advisor Ron Rittgers. FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) has weekly meetings Wednesdays from 9 to 10 p.m. in the ARC. Advisor is Rebekah Reichard.
LCMS-U Valpo is a student group that meets regularly to pray and to discuss topics of theology of interest to college students. Main sources for these conversations are Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions along with statements of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). University Pastor James A. Wetzstein helps facilitate the discussion. Meetings for the fall semester are on Sundays — Sept. 3, Sept. 17, Oct. 1, Oct. 29, Nov. 12 and Dec. 3 — all from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Helge Center multipurpose room and include a meal. On alternating meetings they will have a campus speaker on a relevant topic with catechism discussions on other Sundays. Join the Google group at tinyurl.com/valpolcmsu.
In addition, the Valpo Chinese Christian Association has expanded from a weekly small group Bible study to a Sunday worship service in Chinese. This service is held at First Baptist Church of Chesterton (1401 W. Porter Ave. Chesterton, IN) from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Sundays. A small-group Bible study is at the same church location Fridays from 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their page.
The Resurrection Labyrinth and “I AM” Garden
Outside the Chapel on the east end of the building you will find the Resurrection Labyrinth and “I AM” Garden, given in memory of Nicole Unrath, class of 2003, by her family and friends.
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It is not a maze, because a maze is like a puzzle to be solved. Rather, a labyrinth has only one path, from one continuous line. The way in is also the way out. You are welcome to visit the labyrinth at any time. Our labyrinth includes markers along the way with “I AM” statements of Jesus, for Christ is our journey and our destination.
Some general guidelines for walking a labyrinth are:
- Focus: Pause and wait at the entrance. Become quiet and centered.
- Experience: Walk purposefully. Observe the process. When you reach the center, stay there and focus several minutes. Say a prayer. Leave when it seems appropriate. Be attentive on the way out.
- Exit: Turn and face the entrance. You may wish to give an acknowledgement of ending, such as “Amen.”
- Reflect: After walking the labyrinth, reflect back on your experience.
You can also download a copy of the brochure that tells you more about the labyrinth.
Daily Morning Prayer
The single most frequent worship opportunity during the school year is Morning Prayer at 10 a.m. each class day. It’s just 20 minutes long. Worship styles change from day to day, season to season, with music ranging from ancient to contemporary. Morning Prayer is a time for students, faculty, and staff to gather as a community of faith, to hear God’s word, pray, and give praise.
Peer Ministers are students like yourself, who reside in the residence halls and are here to help you on your spiritual journey.
VU Prayer Book
In celebration of Valpo’s 150th anniversary, a new prayer book became available in August 2008 to members of the campus community. In Thy Light We See Light: The Valparaiso University Prayer Book includes prayers from Valpo’s outgoing and incoming presidents and traditional campus events such as Advent Vespers, as well as prayers related to faith and learning, stress and struggle, giving thanks, relationships, and sorrow and loss. Also contained in the book are examples of varied ways of praying and how one can practice these different approaches. Pick up a copy for free at the Chapel.
Some Thoughts on Silence
Silence has been highly prized as a Christian discipline because as one attends to God’s voice, spoken during private prayer, worship service, the proclaiming of scripture, in solitary walks, etc., one’s inner being becomes focused and intent on receiving life, blessing, and spiritual riches from the One who is the source of life. The Taize Worship Around the Cross service offered during the Morning Prayer rotation makes good use of silence.
One needs to grow used to being in silence, for we tend to become uncomfortable when there are no sounds to distract us. Many of us struggle to still the chatter in our minds in order to pray and to create a space to receive God’s word to us in prayer.
Silence may be considered simply a peaceful attentiveness to God’s presence, a time to be quiet and let your soul breathe deeply once again. It may be a time for reflection on the words and music heard, a time for personal prayer and confession, a time to rest in God’s peace from the busyness of life. Silence can be a means of being in touch with feelings and thoughts, as well as an invitation to discern with God’s eyes and ears what needs to change in us for us to better reflect the image and likeness of God in whom we have been created.