Proclaim the Message

Posted on September 1st, 2009 by

Music plays an important role during Proclaim services. (Photo by Alex Messenger)

Music plays an important role during Proclaim services. (Photo by Alex Messenger)

By Hanna Schutte ’11

Faith opportunities abound at Gustavus. On any given week, there are five chapel services, two or three evening worship opportunities, and a regular Sunday morning service. There may be a faith retreat, or perhaps a choir presentation at a local church. This dedication to faith shows the range of worship experiences available at Gustavus. One such faith experience that has become a staple at Gustavus is Proclaim.

Proclaim is a student-led organization that began about 10 years ago. Students were looking for a way to have an evening worship opportunity. The Chapel staff helped the group get started with some supplies and instruments. Ever since then, every Tuesday night at 9 p.m., Alumni Hall is filled with the sound of contemporary worship.

“It is a welcoming, hospitable environment, with a gathering of people open to ideas,” Chaplain Brian Johnson said.

In society, there have been several waves of contemporary church services. The trend began in the 1960s, when several hymns for guitar were written. In the ’90s, it made a comeback. Proclaim was started during this second trend. The group got its name from the idea that there is a difference between reading a lesson and proclaiming it. You can read a newspaper or a phonebook, but you proclaim the Word of God, for example.

Proclaim services involve lots of singing, using instruments such as guitars and drums. Hymns are displayed at the front of the room in the form of visuals using PowerPoint. There may be a reading, or perhaps a speaker. The service is relaxed and casual.

Students appreciate the atmosphere that reverberates around Proclaim. “It’s not just traditional church. It is fun and flexible, with a less intimidating environment. I think that helps make Proclaim seem more welcoming,” said Nick Lindquist, a junior health fitness major.

Gustavus’ proclaim program has expanded to include more than just weekly worship. Today, it includes outreach work, collaborations with other campus faith groups to sponsor concerts, and hosting small group Bible studies. The organization also has large-group activities once a month, which include events such as a faith retreat to Minneopa State Park, with other Gustavus faith organizations.

Members of Proclaim are always open to new faces. “It’s a fun community with amazing people who accept you for who you are,” said Lindquist. While the organization has changed through the years, its main purpose has remained—proclaiming the Word of God through song and contemporary worship, and inviting others to do the same.


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