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Spelman College’s Sisters Chapel Seeks to Inspire and Connect Share a Spelman College Press Release


Mashaun D. Simon
Spelman College
(404) 759-0123
Twitter: @SpelmanMedia

Rev Dr Neichelle Guidry Spelman Sisters ChapelATLANTA (October 19, 2020) -- Now more than ever, students need spiritual grounding and sustenance as they navigate virtual learning during the ongoing pandemic.

Sisters Chapel, the spiritual center of Spelman College, is working to make sure students are spiritually centered through virtual weekly worship services, monthly lunch-and-learn sessions, mid-week prayer and meditation, and one-on-one pastoral care services, all via Zoom video conferencing.

“It’s been really interesting to hear what students are experiencing [during the pandemic],” said Rev. Neichelle Guidry, Ph.D., dean of the chapel and director of Spelman’s WISDOM Center.  “For so many, when we are in person, their world is Spelman. They get the privilege and the luxury of just focusing on school, extra curriculars and whatever jobs they may have. Since they’ve been home, many of them have had to balance being students, babysitters and, in some cases, find ways to help their families bring in finances. In many ways, it’s like an archetype of real life.”

Sunday chapel services are broadcast at 11 a.m. on YouTube and Facebook and consist of prayer, music from longtime Spelman organist Dr. Joyce Johnson, and a sermon. The services attract about 300 people each week, said Rev. Guidry.

“Everyone is trying their best to provide fellowship and sisterhood while we are apart,” said Rev. Guidry, also known to students as Dean G.

Following the Sunday morning worship services, the Chapel hosts the Sunday Evening Breathing Room, facilitated by chapel intern, yoga instructor, and Candler School of Theology student Joselyn Spence. The sessions blend yoga, breathing and scripture as a way to invite students to get spiritually prepared for the week.

The goal of monthly lunch-and-learns is to teach students how to care for themselves spiritually, said Rev. Guidry, a 2007 graduate of Clark Atlanta University who holds degrees from Yale Divinity School and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. One recent lunch-and-learn focused on how to create a personal altar to commune with God or with the ancestors.

“We’re trying to open up new avenues for students to think theologically and creatively about their spirituality,” said Rev. Guidry, “while also providing some really practical tools and practices that they can engage while we are apart.”

Students have responded well to the activities. They’re learning to take ownership of their own spiritual growth, especially now when options for in person services are few, she said.

Her advice to students: “Be intentional about your spiritual growth. Commit to doing something every day that nourishes your soul and spirt. Read scripture, listen to uplifting music or an uplifting podcast. Try deep breathing, get a prayer partner. There are so many things you can engage in for 10 minutes. Do something with the sole purpose of connecting with God and with the spirit. It will make such a difference in your life.”

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete PhDs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 14th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women PhDs in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and partnerships have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit


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