Seniors worship together for final time at Chapel
Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Garrett Ohrenberg
GCU News Bureau
The final Chapel of the academic year is a time for reflection but also celebration – in particular, a celebration of the Worship team leaders who lead the music week after week.
And they certainly were reflecting Monday as they played together in Grand Canyon University Arena for the last time. The beauty of this last dance is that the graduating seniors on the team get to go onstage together after being split into separate groups all year.
“It was just so fun getting to play with some people who weren’t on my team this year,” electric guitarist Joseph Vaught said. “Just so many friends. The community on the team is unreal. Our monthly gatherings didn’t happen as they normally would because of COVID, but because the team was so tight-knit and close, we still found ourselves hanging out plenty.”
Dr. Tim Griffin, Vice President of Student Affairs, Dean of Students and University Pastor, spoke briefly and began with his own bit of reflection: “This year, as we all know, is one like we’ve never experienced before.”
But he also wanted to honor the Worship team, which played for most of the service. (Here’s a slideshow.) The 13 seniors:
Worship leaders – Chandler Jennings, Chandler Kruse, Connor Meck, Nicole Raum, Chantelle Lankford, Emma Mondello
Bass guitar — Caedmon Waldrop (also on tech team), Nathan Lake
Electric guitar – Vaught, Garrett Crane
Drums – Connor Brown
Keys – Chris Calderon
Tech team – Sorrayda Medina
After thanking the employees across the University who helped Chapel come together all year in the Arena in the face of the pandemic, Griffin read from Philippians 3:7-14:
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
“As we close this school year and anticipate next year, I hope that you’re filled with anticipation and optimism, that we will move on from this difficult chapter to a brand new, incredible chapter that God has for us in the future,” Griffin said.
There was more reflection as the Worship team closed the last half of the service. Vaught said it was especially meaningful for him and other seniors who were on the team the last three years.
“It was kind of surreal that this is the last time we’ll all be together on this campus, but it’s an insane blessing,” he said. “It was definitely sad. It feels like the end of the era.
“Everyone was so full of joy but also somber, like, ‘Man, that was it.’”
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].
● Chapel replay
GCU Today: Demeter shows Chapel how faith can save you