On Wednesday, junior Jackson Bargery was announced as the new chapel band leader along with the 2015 student chaplains. The student chaplains for the 2015-2016 school year are Kerryn Ansell, Kylie Marble, Ben Nussbaum and Daniel Y. Kim.
The search for the student chaplains and chapel band leader was not publicized like other on campus applications. Candidates did not know who else was applying.
Chaplains will be responsible for planning All-School communions, assisting Chaplain Blackmon and working with the Chaplain’s Office and other student organizations. Junior psychology major Kerryn Ansell said, “I believe a large part of our role is prayer. I absolutely believe that anything we do as student chaplains will be pointless if we don’t ask the Lord to drive it with his Holy Spirit.”
Chaplains know what events they will be in charge of and who they will be working with, but the role of student chaplain does not come with a manual where everything is explained explicitly.
Junior integrated biblical and theological studies major Ben Nussbaum said, “I can’t say there’s anything I hope to achieve, but I do pray that we as a chaplain staff are faithful to him who calls us. Simply put, I am excited and humbled to be a part of God’s plan for Wheaton College. We all are. There will be joys and sorrows, great things and little things, and my prayer is that we are faithful to our Lord amidst all circumstances.”
The chapel band leader was also announced. The new chapel band leader will be junior Jackson Bargery. Starting at the age of 14, Jackson has led many different worship teams in different settings and with different people mostly due to being a military kid. Bargery said, “I wanted to apply for chapel band not only because I love leading worship but also because I wanted to be part of a team that would impact this campus in meaningful ways. I think chapel band is a great opportunity in which I can use my God-given gifts to do that.”
Jackson has also used his gifts through his role as the RA of Traber 7. Being an RA has helped Jackson prepare for his role as student worship band leader by teaching him the importance of daily prayer and spending time in the word. Justin Dillenback, RA of Traber 4 and next year’s ARD of Smith-Traber, said about Bargery, “One of Jackson’s strengths is his amazing ability to affirm someone. He always has encouraging words and brings out the best in people.” Although the rest of the band has not been figured out yet, working well in a group will be crucial to the chapel band.
Senior and secondary education and English major Whitney Hall spoke about some of the ways she had grown by being chapel band co-leader with senior communications major Andrew Sedlacek.
“Personally I have grown in humility a ton. Learning from and submitting to the student chaplains, Chaplain’s Office and the media folks has become such a joy. They all have such wisdom. After leading worship for so many years, I thought I knew an awful lot, but when you sit down with people like Marilyn Brenner or Kerry Happs you realize there’s so much more wisdom to be had. I’ve also enjoyed our band more than I can say. They are such an amazing eclectic group to be with, pray with and goof off with. I’ll miss them so much.” Hall emphasized the importance of joy, celebrating in worship, dancing, and the goal of worshiping by representing diverse styles. The fall semester, while full of freedom, shifted second semester with a dramatic change towards lament and praise in suffering instead.
RA and student chapel band leader are large and challenging roles to fill. Bargery said, “Again, there are many ways that I think I’ve seen God work this year, sometimes through me, and sometimes through others. From huge, beautiful moments of community where everyone is using their gifts to create something awesome, to the relationship forming that you get to bear witnesses to, I really could go on and on, but I think in general I’ve been amazed at the way that God works through our weaknesses. I think that God has blessed me to see times where even my moments of weakness have been redeemed or turned into something good. I think as the year wraps up, this idea will be one of the standout themes of the year and will be something that I hope to hold to as I go forward. I think this is definitely one of things I will carry over and assuredly apply to chapel band.”