All School Communion unites student body through Gospel music

All School Communion has been a Wheaton tradition for years, becoming a monthly occasion in Fall 2001. This year the worship band integrated Gospel music with Contemporary Christian Music as they welcomed the class of 2018 and the rest of the student body back to Wheaton during the first All School on Tuesday, August 26.
As usual, Orientation Committee led the first All School, and over 30 transfers helped to serve communion by intinction. Gospel Choir joined the worship band for hours of worship through music, and Michael Daugherty spoke about unity and being living stones built up into the Christian body.
Senior Brittany Janofski on the Orientation Committee said, “I enjoyed the opportunity to work with the Chaplain’s Office and to plan the first All School communion, and in doing so, hopefully have a small part in setting the spiritual tone of the year to be one of sincerity and worship. The spiritual atmosphere of the Wheaton community affects every aspect of life here and I believe it is of utmost importance to protect and encourage.”
Janofski explained the organization of the first All School. She and Constance Lee worked with Chapel Band to have them lead worship, they assembled the video that showed at the beginning, and they wrote the program for the night. Janofski and Lee also worked with President Ryken to have him lead communion. Additionally, the two OC members communicated with Daugherty, the Student Chaplains and Marilyn Brenner in the chaplain’s office.
“Constance and I felt immensely blessed to see God work the All School Communion. Having just come from a week of busy events, we both struggled to find the energy to feel ready for this event,” Janofski shared in an email.
Janofski continued, “Nonetheless, I believe God worked in our weakness to show us that He is capable of anything, regardless of how we feel. He moved in my heart though the songs and Daugherty’s talk to show me a new aspect of His love for me, despite my fallibility. From what I have heard from other students, He was working mightily in others’ hearts as well!”
Whitney Hall, co-leader of Chapel Band with Andrew Sedlacek, said, “Everyone I’ve talked to has been like, ‘That was such a free all school.’ Everyone felt free to shout and to dance and to stick their arms in the air or to get on their knees or to go find their friends and hug them. It’s definitely the most movement I’ve ever done leading worship, partly because I got to join Gospel Choir, which was sick, and then partly because I was dancing anyway.”
Hall said that seeing seemingly everyone’s hands in the air was “so good” and worth praising God for. She said that “what’s even a million times better than that” was hearing the stories of how God worked in people’s lives through All School.
Hall added that Chapel Band plans to continue working with other groups on campus to “take the next step” in normalizing diverse worship styles on campus.
“We’re going to be careful with what we do, and we’re not going to do anything the Lord doesn’t ask us to do,” Hall said, explaining, “We’re not pushing for diversity for diversity’s sake. We’re pushing for diversity for the Lord (God)’s sake and because it’s what Heaven will look like, I think.”
Hall continued, “If there’s going to be change at Wheaton, we want it to be change that isn’t a burden but is a breath of fresh air, which is what we’ve been hearing so far. We definitely want to push to take the next step forward, and we believe it’s a process that’s going to take a long time…unless the Lord does something wild.”
Hall shared, “It has been such a joy to come before people whose help we need and whose wisdom I would submit to — members of the Office of Multicultural Development, members of Koinonia, or just friends that I respect very highly like my housemates — and explain our vision and see the reaction of like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s great! Let’s do it.’ ”
“We need so much help and prayer to push forward,” Hall said. She then added, “The campus has been so encouraging. It’s such a victory, such a joy for us as leaders.”
Hall finished by quoting Sedlacek’s idea that the first All School Communion occurs during Orientation Week because the new students are not only a part of Wheaton College but also a part of the Kingdom of God.
“We worship because God deserves it. Worship together. That’s what God calls us to do,” Hall concluded.

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