New Spiritual Events, A Community for Those Who Are in the Storm

Emi Tsuji, Staff Reporter

Julie Mavity Maddalena, Lakeland’s chaplain, hosts two brand new spiritual events, “Pause, Pray, Praise” and “Beloved Community Worship,” which gives spiritual support for students and faculty who are all getting through this complex pandemic situation of COVID-19. 

According to Mavity Maddalena, the purpose of those events is to provide an inclusive community and support for those who are under the stress of the current situation.  

“With COVID and the social protests that are going on about the injustice in the country, I think a lot of people are stressed out, are frustrated, angry, and are worried,” Mavity Maddalena stated. “I want to support as many people as I possibly can in finding ways to process all that is going on, to find comfort and strength, and to connect to other people in meaningful ways.”  

Wednesdays’ service, “Pause, Pray, Praise,” is an opportunity to listen to prayers of Mavity Maddalena and have some conversation about sacred texts with live music played by chapel musicians, Cal MacAuley, a freshman of Lakeland, and Mark Schmitt from Eden Seminary Intern.  

MacAuley, who plays guitar at the events, described the inclusive atmosphere of the events. “It is an all-inclusive environment and we welcome everyone who wants to come. As someone from the LGBTQIA+ community, I can say it’s a safe space to share your faith. It’s engaging and relaxed.”    

Sunday’s service, “Beloved Community Worship,” is, in addition to prayers and music, Mavity Maddalena and participants doing some spiritual activities such as making prayer beads, doodling with gel pens, and playing some games depending on the theme of the week. All themes are related to “seeking in the storm” which is a metaphor for this pandemic situation. So far, they have done “piece in the storm,” “joy in the storm,” and “prayer in the storm.” 

Hailey DeGrave, a freshman student and a chaplain’s assistant, stated that “[being] a part of these events is very important to me. I feel as though many students would benefit from coming to these services as they are what I look forward to in my week.”  

Zachary Cotton, a junior student and participant in “Pause, Pray, Praise,” said that since he can’t see many students on campus than before, this event is “a great time for fellowship” to him.  

 “Pause, Pray, Praise” is held on Wednesdays starting at noon, and “Beloved Community Worship” is held on Sundays starting at 5:30 p.m. Both events are 30 minute long sessions and take place outdoors in the white tent outside the Daily Grind.  

Mavity Maddalena is ready to have diverse participants. “Everyone is welcomed and equally a part of the beloved community, which is a phrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used to describe his vision for a just, loving world. I’m not trying to convert or convince anyone of anything other than that they are loved and worthwhile and that we need to work toward a more just world together,” Mavity Maddalena stated.