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The Boston Globe


Chapel services test Gordon College’s values

Diverse worship styles at school spur friction, dialogue on cultural divide

WENHAM — The chapel is the one place at this small, liberal arts Christian college along the North Shore where 40 faith traditions converge, the one place where Gordon College’s 1,700 students come together to worship and praise.

But it became the place where the college community splintered last semester. Some students balked at how the new worship leader ushered in a spirit of praise, incorporating gospel-tinged songs and hymns. Their displeasure aired on social media and in a survey. The fissure exposed simmering racial tensions and brought forth stories of intentional and unintentional acts of exclusion, discrimination, and misunderstanding.

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