& The Lutheran Campus Ministry at WVU

Worship in General
Worship Offerings
Worship Schedule
Worship Leadership
With four regular worship services each week and opportunities for private devotion, worship and spirituality at the Lutheran Campus Ministry can't be digested into a few words. We can say, "Worship is the heartbeat of the ministry," but that might not answer your questions. Explore this page and learn about our regular and special worship offerings, opportunities for worship leadership, assistance with private and group devotion, and our general philosophy of worship and spirituality.

Daniel with thuriblePhilosophy of Worship & Spirituality


Worship is Gottesdienst (the service of God). Now the question? Is the "service of God" the service we render to God? Or is it the service God renders to us? For the grammar junkies out there, is this a case of the objective genitive or the subjective genitive? Answer: We think it is both. Worship (Gottesdienst) is what we give to God and what God gives to us. In as much as worship is the prayer, praise, and thanksgiving that we offer up to God, it is our service rendered to him. So it is that the priest exhorts the people in the mass' Sursum corda and the people respond

Priest: "Lift up your hearts."
People: "We lift them up to the Lord."
Priest: "Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God."
People: "It is right to give him thanks and praise."
Priest: "It is meet, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places offer thanks and praise..."

God is not, however, merely a recipient in worship. He gives, and, in fact, gives first and more abundantly than we can ever respond. In worship (whether it be the mass or the prayer office), his Word is presented through the readings of Holy Writ, recitation of the psalms, versicles, responsories, antiphons, and the proclamation of the Word. The Word of God is the source of the liturgy, its bones and its flesh. Through this continual presentation of the Word, the Holy Spirit is mediated to us by God's grace so that faith might be engendered, according to God's will, and the justifying grace of God apprehended by his creature. This gracious Word does not confine itself to the mediation of justifying grace; it also teaches the redeemed what is the glorious and holy end of God's elect so that we might be sustained in all weariness, trial, and tribulation, and enjoy a foretaste of the feast to come through the regeneration of the heart and holy living.

Homo Spiritualis

Now, you might be asking: What about spirituality? Spirituality is rooted in Gottesdienst.

Backing up just a little, Luther talked about the Homo spiritualis (the spiritual human). The spiritual man or woman was one whose heart and mind was regenerated by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is mediated by the Word of God in both its aural and visible forms, we look to worship where Word & Sacrament hold central place (along with the mutual conversation and consolation of the brothers and sisters in Christ) as the beginning point of spirituality. Without severing ourselves from this font, we exercise the new disposition of the heart in the world.

Private devotion and study accompanies corporate worship and study. Together with the struggle of daily life as those in the world but not of it, we grow in grace, through the Holy Spirit's continual preservation, until we are perfected in the beatific vision.

Worship in General

Lutheran Campus Chapel worship is centered in the Gospel ministry of Word & Sacrament.  We are committed to multiple weekly worship offerings when the university is in session and a reduced, variable schedule when the university is not in session or in summer session. We are unabashedly "smells & bells," offering a worship life unique on the WVU campus.

We are committed to offering prayer offices (services) throughout the week. Campus is a hectic, frenetic, and cacophonous place. Providing a place of peace and quiet so that we might calm ourselves in presence of God and find renewed strength and direction in him is the Chapel's gift to students, faculty, staff, and all others who wander through our doors.

Our worship services are open to all. Of course, the university community is the primary constituency with students making up the bulk of that, but we have always been blessed to receive faculty and staff as well as townsfolk. We do not try to be all things to all people; we do try to offer an encounter with the Divine in a mode faithful to the Lutheran Confessions, the liturgical legacy of the church, and the Anselmic motto Fides quaerens intellectum (faith seeking understanding). Consequently, you will find worship and preaching which seeks to engage the mind as well as the heart because faith and intellect are not enemies: indeed, we desire the fulfillment of Paul's admonition, "be transformed by the renewal of your mind."

We attempt to keep the sanctuary open as much as possible throughout the week so that those seeking relief from the day might be able to come in for private or small group prayer, meditation, and contemplation.

Worship Offerings

While many have asked about our "regular" worship schedule, it should be noted that our worship schedule changes year to year (sometimes semester to semester) to match the ebb and flow of the academic year and the spiritual needs of those we serve.  To review an up-to-date worship schedule, click here.

Among our regular offerings you will find...

Mass No need to crawl out of bed before noon!  Our principal worship service...this is a full high mass (smells & bells) which includes preaching and the administration of the Sacrament of the Altar (Holy Communion). Throughout the fall and spring academic terms, nearly every Sunday evening features this worship service at 7:00 PM.
Compline A contemplative close to the day.  A.k.a., "prayer at the close of the day," this liturgy lasts less than fifteen minutes. This brief prayer office brings a restful and contemplative end to the day through short Scripture readings, simple chants, and moments of silence. This liturgy is prayed Sundays, 9:00 PM, and Thursdays, 9:45 PM.
Sext A midday respite.  A.k.a., "noon prayer." Lasting less than 10 minutes, this very brief prayer office is drawn from the Benedictine tradition. It includes a hymn, psalm, and reading of a brief Scripture. It is a midweek, midday moment of silence and serenity in the midst of a noisy and hectic campus. We pray sext Wednesdays, 12:00 Noon.

Among our seasonal and festival offerings you will find...

End of Term Compline Since "prayer at the close of the day" is a wonderfully restful and contemplative service, what better time to do it than dead week and exam week.  Prayed every weeknight during those weeks at 9:45 PM, we offer spiritual refuge and nourishment in the midst of one of the most stressful times of the term.
End of Term Sext
The same is true of midday prayer.  Prayed every weekday at 9:45 PM throughout dead week and exam week, it provides a much needed opportunity to recenter and refresh.
First Week Prayers
If the end of term is worthy of sext and compline each weekday, so is the beginning of the academic year. Every weekday of the first week of the academic year, we will pray sext at 12:00 noon and compline at 9:45 PM.
Minor Offices Terce, sext, and none are known as the minor offices.  Lasting less than 10 minutes, these brief prayer services are drawn from the Benedictine tradition.  They punctuate the day, encouraging an integration of prayer and work.  We pray these offices on days of special observance.
Festivals &
As much as practical, we observe the various lesser festivals.  In many cases, we celebrate mass.  In other cases, we use various rites and rituals of the church, e.g., service of healing, corporate confession and forgiveness, vespers, matins, etc..
Seasonal Liturgies We observe the liturgical calendar with appropriate liturgies, e.g., Ash Wednesday imposition of ashes, Tenebrae, Triduum liturgies, All Souls' Requiem, etc..  When practical, these liturgies are offered in conjunction with St. Paul Lutheran Church.

Among our former offerings that could come back...

Wednesday Matins "O Lord, open my lips...." Because a student requested morning prayer, we offered it. Matins (a.k.a., "morning prayer") lasts about 20 minutes. Even if you started a little bleary-eyed, you were awake by the final "amen."  Matins was prayed Wednesdays, 7:30 AM. Because students graduate, we periodically reassess our schedule. At this point, we do not plan on offering matins, but a request is all that is needed to bring it back. If you would like to pray matins (or some other office), talk with Chap. Riegel. Day & time will be determined in the course of such a conversation.
Prison Mass For several years, Chap. Riegel visited the Federal Corrections Institution in Morgantown monthly to say mass for the the inmates. While Chap. Riegel still visits the prison to provide religious services as needed, the monthly mass has been suspended because of shifting demographics. As soon as the request comes from the prison to recommence monthly masses, we will do so. Those interested in prison ministry or related fields should contact the chaplain. Prison ministry is broader than mass, including prayer groups, bible studies (and other forms of religious education), and reentry programs. Background checks require two weeks to process.
Sunday Vespers
Before we moved mass to Sunday evening, vespers (a.k.a. evening prayer or evensong) was our practice. We're very fond of vespers but haven't been able to decide what day it would be best prayed. So, we've relegated this to seasonal use and special observances. If requested, we could bring back this beautiful office. Vespers lasts under 30 minutes.
Moller Opus
Music is an important part of Lutheran worship, and, believing that music is a divine art, we encourage it.  Those interested in providing music on a one-time or recurring basis, should contact the chaplain.  Instrumental and vocal music is welcome.  Soloists and ensembles are welcome.  Forms from chant through modern are welcome.  The chapel has a Möller pipe organ, an Allen digital organ, and an upright piano, but we welcome other instrumentation.  The acoustics of the space are superb.

Those interested in some extra-curricular instruction in church music (e.g., liturgical form and considerations, seasonal and lectionary based music selection, roles and relationships, etc.) should contact the chaplain.

Alternative liturgies...

While we use the normative liturgies found in the Lutheran Book of Worship and the Occasional Services, we also use other liturgical resources theologically and liturgically consistent with the Lutheran movement.  Some occasions call for particular liturgies, e.g.,...
  • Reformation Sunday -- Luther's German Mass, Samuel Simon Schmucker's Proposed Liturgy (1863), The Washington Service (1869), The Common Service (1888, 1917, and 1958)
  • Henry Melchior Muhlenberg Day -- the Muhlenberg Service
  • In time of war -- The Service from the Army and Navy Service Book (1917) of the General Council.
By offering such liturgies, we not only worship in an appropriate manner, we also teach the greater tradition of our Lutheran Movement and liturgics in general.

Participating in worship leadership...

Those interested in
  • assisting in planning, leading, or assisting worship,
  • attending or being notified of worship schedule updates, or
  • commenting
should e-mail Chaplain Riegel or call the office (304-296-5388).

Schola Cantorum

Founded in 2005 under the direction of DMA candidate Jonathan Neiderhiser, the Schola Cantorum specializes in early music, beginning with Gregorian chant.  Visit the Schola Cantorum website to learn more about its work and opportunities.

Worship Committee

From time to time, we've found it helpful to have a Worship Committee to help plan and execute the liturgies of the Chapel as well as shape and direct the the devotional life (private and public) of the campus ministry.  If you are interested in such a group, let us know.

Other matters & Questions...

If there is something you would like to see (but we are not currently offering), please contact us.  Ask, and it may be granted.

Ask if you have any questions about anything you have read here (contact us).

Also, should you like to be kept informed (i.e., receive notices) about worship offerings, please contact us.

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