Chapel’s Shaking Walls

Chapels Shaking Walls

The recent changes in Mid-Pacific’s chapel have brought a ruckus of voices instead of the quiet, contemplative mood students have come to expect.

Mid-Pacific’s previous Kahu, Wendell Davis, retired from Mid-Pacific last year. The new Kahu is Kyle Lovett, who was hired to create a chapel that was inclusive of the diverse student body of Mid-Pacific.

“They wanted a chaplain who would address the multi-faith diverse community and highlight inclusivity,” Lovett said. “Everybody’s included.”

There was a need communicated by the community for a more inclusive environment, administration expressed.

“They didn’t feel welcome, they’d felt excluded, they didn’t feel honored, they didn’t hear themselves addressed,” Lovett said.

Though this was the intention, many students protested the changes in chapel, which included an edited doxology, gender-neutral vocabulary used to describe God, and more religious ambiguity.

“I had stepped on a landline that I didn’t know existed,” Lovett said.

The change came as a surprise to many Mid-Pacific students who had been here for years.

“It might be hard for some of the students, because since we’ve been going here, it’s been one [type of Christianity],” senior Maile Hirschmann said.

Though some students were indifferent to the changes, others disagreed with the decision.

“I think her changing the doxology was a bit disrespectful because the doxology was made a long time ago, even before we existed,” senior Charis Kai said.

Some students support Kahu Lovett’s changes.

“I think that her use of the gender neutral doxology was really interesting. It made me think a lot about many people’s religions [where] it’s not a gendered figure,” Hirschmann said.

Within one week, the Lord’s prayer was changed back to the traditional language. Many students wondered what had happened.

“[The administration thought] it might be helpful to reinstate those previous practices so that those people had things to hang onto, like the way the previous Kahu led chapel,” Lovett said.

Students who may not agree with the changes found peace with it.

“I take what she’s saying and how I believe in God and Christianity, [and] I change her words to ways I can understand it,” senior Kendall Clark.

There is also a wish that the original Christian values that Mid-Pacific was committed to be fully represented.

“I think that we should be creating more of a balance, making sure that the school’s core religion is being represented, values of the Christian Protestant side are properly represented definitely and then incorporating multiple different religious values,” Hirschmann said.

With all of the changes being made, Lovett wants students to remember that their door is always open.

“I’m in this office everyday and the door is unlocked and people stop me and talk,” Lovett said.

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