Week of Worship


September 7, 2017



By Hannah Barnhart, ’19

“You belong at Rio.” These words have been circulating around the campus for the last couple of weeks. Week of Worship, a twist on the traditional Week of Prayer, invited all the students to worship together and to learn what it means to belong.

Each night, the students gathered together to be spiritually blessed through music, worship thoughts, and group activities. With the lights dimmed, students and worship leader, Zach Dechicchis, led out in uplifting music.

After the students were blessed with music, Chaplain Anthony Handal interviewed returning students, new students, and international students all from different backgrounds. Students who were interviewed gave insight to their fellow peers as to their feelings of belonging. Simple questions were also asked so that students could learn more about their classmates.

Pastor Lyle Bennett, Chaplains Anthony Handal, Zach Dechicchis, and Taylor Pittenger each discussed a different aspect of belonging. One night in particular, Chaplain Pittenger shared her first experience here at Rio. Taylor expressed her feelings by saying, “As a new teacher, I am undergoing the process of belonging here at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy. I hope that the students, whether they are new here, or if they’ve been here for a few years already know that they belong here.” During her first week at Rio, different faculty members helped Taylor move into her house. She immediately felt like a member of the staff. After sharing her first Rio impressions, Taylor encouraged the rest of the student body to get to know new students and incorporate a feeling of belonging.

The Chaplain Staff is hoping that having Week of Worship in the second week of school will set the tone for the rest of the year.

“The theme is focusing on getting the students involved in belonging with each other and belonging with Jesus,” stated Chaplain Handal.

Returning senior, Adam Adreveno, thought it was “nice to see that Rio cares about how the new students feel.”

Throughout the year, there will be different themes for each month. Topics will be covered such as persistence, discipline, kindness, and honesty. “These are characteristics of the Rio community to which you belong,” stated Pastor Bennett.

At the end of this spiritual emphasis week, the hope is that everyone knows they belong at Rio and in the family of God. 


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