Gustavus Adolphus College announced on July 1 that the Reverend Siri C. Erickson and the Reverend Brian E. Konkol had been hired to serve as Chaplains of the College. The two officially joined the college community on August 1 and are carefully discerning how the College will practice daily worship during the scheduled 10-10:20 a.m. chapel time beginning this Fall Semester.
“We understand the challenges that arise out of the changes in leadership, and we will do our best to listen, learn, and grow into our new roles with the utmost levels of appreciation and sensitivity,” Chaplain Konkol said. “We are deeply honored to follow in the footsteps of a long line of faithful chaplains at Gustavus, and we intend to build upon their numerous contributions.”
Chaplains Erickson and Konkol recently shifted the name of daily worship at Gustavus from Daily Chapel to Daily Sabbath. They said the transition is intended to deepen our Lutheran roots and expand our contextual reach as a diverse community that gathers together for a period of rest, renewal, and revitalization.
“We hope that the name change brings a renewed focus to the practice of Daily Sabbath. We are confident that people of various theological perspectives will feel included, and we believe it will inspire an increased level of dialogue surrounding the future of faith and learning at Gustavus,” Chaplains Erickson and Konkol said.
Students, faculty, and staff will notice two major changes in the format of Daily Sabbath. The first is that each day of the week will have a clearly defined focus and each day will feature a distinct experience that relates to an aspect of Sabbath practice. Mondays will be a day of prayer. Tuesdays will feature a speaker who will address a faith-related question and spark discussion about important issues and ideas. Wednesdays will be a continuation of the longstanding tradition of Morning Praise liturgy. Thursdays will feature Christian praise worship led by the Re:vive team and student, faculty, and staff preachers. Fridays will feature a playful approach, reminding attendees to make room for joy and delight in the midst of the challenges of life.
“The second biggest change is that we are embracing the whole campus as a sacred space,” Chaplain Erickson said. “In particular, on Mondays and Fridays we will invite people to engage in Sabbath practices in Christ Chapel and beyond, such as online, in the Campus Center, and in a variety of locations around campus. Christ Chapel is the symbolic center of faith on campus, but God’s presence can be known anywhere on campus. We want to help people make the connection between faith, learning and life by hosting Sabbath practices in a wide variety of locations.”
Chaplains Erickson and Konkol say that the new format for Daily Sabbath is intended for the fall semester, and that they intend to re-evaluate the format alongside a wide variety of students, faculty, staff, alumni, administrators, and others in the Gustavus community.
“We are excited for all there is to come, and we look forward to receiving a great deal of participation and feedback throughout the semester,” Erickson and Konkol said. “In the short term, we hope that Daily Sabbath is a time in which we as a diverse community gather to collectively remember who we are, discover what matters, and be set free by God for love, learning, and life.”
To learn more about the backgrounds of Chaplains Erickson and Konkol, you can read the original press release announcing their hire. To receive mobile updates from the Chaplains, text @ GACCHAPLAINS to 23559. You can also follow Chaplains Erickson and Konkol on Twitter at @SiriCErickson and @BrianKonkol.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin