BY RACHAEL BLANDAU – STAFF WRITER
Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with your workload that you just wanted to get some peace? When you are in the middle of the worst semester in your life you may not think you can get relief from everything bogging you down, while the solution to that never-ending stress is just outside campus.
Every Sunday at 9:30 p.m. the Danville Presbyterian Church holds a half-hour, no obligations meditation service called “Get Centred,” where you don’t have to worry about classes. This service consists of meditation, beautifully lit candles, and great choral music that allows you time to pause and think before your busy week.
“It is very quiet, and gives you time to reflect to yourself about the week,” senior Abby Fowler said. “ It gives you time to just sit, and chill out for thirty minutes.”
Another plus for the service: there is no sermon. Those who are not Presbyterian are welcome to attend, because it is non-denominational, and there are so little church-like aspects to it—just a reading and some introspective prayer—that even those who aren’t religious would feel welcome. Just peace, quiet, and free snacks to start your week.
Get Centred was started in 2006 by former Centre organist Jeff Jones and H. W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion and College Chaplain Dr. Rick Axtell.
“We had a lot of things we were doing with The Office of Religious Life that were related to a lot of specific groups on campus,” Dr. Axtell said, “ but some students wanted something that would bring at least the Christian students together in a community that transcended their different lines for worship opportunities.”
Thus began the non-denominational Get Centred, which has been popular enough to garner twenty committed members of the choir and to last nine years.
The positives of a service like this are endless. Meditation has numerous benefits that include an increase in happiness and health, a decrease in anxiety and stress, and best of all for college students: healthier brains, better attention spans, and memory improvement. So, going to the service would give you a well needed break, while also improving skills you need to study and do well in class.
Meditation isn’t the only facet of the service that would help in classroom performance. Music is also known to markedly decrease stress and anxiety, and improve cognitive performance and sleep quality. So mixing meditation and music together should help decrease the need for those afternoon naps, and help you face your day with a smile.
The worship style that is used at Get Centred is called Taizé, and in Taizé worship, practitioners sing or chant prayers repetitively until they are calm and, in the right state of mind, silently meditate. It is a way to bring Christians from totally different denominations together in non-denominational worship just to praise God.
Taizé Worship is aptly named for the prayers of the people.
“Get Centred is a time to clear your mind and prepare for the coming week,” sophomore Peter Yin said. “It’s a time where you can talk to God, away from the noise of the campus.”
These prayers are quiet and introspective, a personal conversation. They bring about a true sense of peace away from the noise, and along with meditation, allow you to understand yourself better and figure out your needs to stay happy and healthy in the coming week.
So, take a thirty-minute break from feverishly trying to complete your homework on Sunday evening, and go to the Get Centred service at the First Presbyterian Church. They are always looking for students to sing in the choir or otherwise contribute to the music, or just show up and enjoy the service. Let yourself get back into the grind of a school week gently, and with peace and relaxation instead of chaos and regret.
Maybe this is the change you didn’t know you needed—the solution that stands just down the street.