Southern’s Chaplain Office shifted Friday night vespers from 8:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in order to support the new afterglow program.
In the past, afterglow has been a “hit or miss,” according to Associate Chaplain Anna Bennett. Located in the new wing of Collegedale Church, the new afterglow initiative aims to provide a place of community, learning and spiritual growth for both students and faculty. Last spring, the Spiritual Life Committee supported the Chaplain Office’s desire to start a half an hour earlier in order to provide more time for afterglow.
Students have shared mixed reactions about the vespers new time.
It is “not too late [and] not too early. It’s just right in the sweet spot for me.” said Kristen Zinke, general studies freshman.
On the other hand, student café supervisor Estefania Sanchez does not like the time change.
“I’m a supervisor on Friday nights, and our shift goes from 5 p.m. until we finish. And usually we don’t finish until 7:15 p.m. so that only gives us 15 minutes [‘till vespers] to like run back to the dorm, [and] change and then run to the church.”
Sanchez and fellow cafeteria student workers who do closing shifts on Fridays received a deduction in the total number of worship credits that they need, but Sanchez expressed that even though she appreciated the compromise she would prefer to go to vespers.
Regardless of the opinions on the time change, students such as junior animation major Rachel Ibarbia-Atkinson have expressed excitement over the new afterglows.
“Before, nobody really went to afterglow, but last time a lot of people did. And it actually looked really cool,” Atkinson said.
As the afterglow director for Campus Ministries, theology major Bryan Arvelo said, “It’s pretty good if we go to vespers, but I think it’s even better that after vespers we get to continue our conversation with Jesus. And the point of vespers is to encourage students and to provide them with an outlet to do so. So, for all of those students who are extremely busy during the week and are longing to just chill with God, afterglow is a perfect place to go.”