Chapel tradition at Baylor spans more than 160 years

By Julia Lawrenz | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor has many traditions, but chapel has been a part of the school’s history for more than 160 years.

Students are required to take at least two semesters of chapel. Nearly every Monday and Wednesday morning, Baylor brings a speaker to Waco Hall to fill students with spiritual wisdom.

University chaplain and dean of Spiritual Life & Missions Dr. Burt Burleson explained why this tradition has lated so long.

“It is important to know that it is 160 years old and when something is that old, the people who are stewards really have to take care of it,” Burleson said. “It is a common experience for all Baylor students.”

During chapel, these stewards are known as chapel student leaders. These students help ensure that all students are having a quality experience. Prosser, Wash., junior Taylor Beightol, chapel student leader, said her position is mostly making sure people are focused.

“My job as a chapel leader we mostly look out for people on their cell phones, but people also aren’t supposed to have head phones in,” Beightol said. “We just ask them to put them away because we want everyone to have a good chapel experience.”

Leawood, Kan., freshman Hannah De la Torre is currently enrolled in chapel and said the course requirement gives her and other students a chance to open discussion about issues they might not typically bring up.

“I like how they talk about important topics that I wouldn’t usually talk about with my peers or friends,” De la Torre said. “We talked about sex trafficking, and this isn’t usually something I would talk about with my friend group. So, I think that is really important.”

Students are required to attend at least 21 out of the 28 chapel sessions. Failure to meet this requirement means a student must retake the course. Attendance is taken at the end of each chapel by swiping a Baylor ID in the scanner machines in the entrance.