'The Walking Dead' meets God
As a part of the weekend, many people look forward to Sundays, even though it may be eventful for different reasons.
For people of a spiritual nature, this day is one where they can get closer to their God. A majority of Christian denominations believe that Sunday should be put aside as a day of worship and rest.
For horror aficionados around the world, Sundays in the fall mean one thing: “Walking Dead.”
While at first glance it may seem as if these two interests are completely separate, Chaplain Adrienne Hymes of St. Anselm’s Episcopal Chapel Center at USF believes that there is a middle ground between the both of them.
To cater to people who are passionate about both, she is facilitating a ‘Walking Dead: Zombies, Theology and Ethics’ discussion and watch party for the remainder of the hit show’s seventh season.
Hymes, who has only been a chaplain at St. Anselm’s since October 1, said the idea came from her first year in seminary school, which coincided with the premiere of the show.
“It became a thing where everyone was stressed out about writing a sermon or a paper that was due, but when the ‘Walking Dead’ came on, we would gather, have our popcorn, turn off all the lights and watch the nasty stuff that was happening on TV, all the gross and gory stuff,” Hymes said. “Then, during the commercials we would talk about what we were learning in our ethics classes.”
These talks would lead into larger discussions on Christian doctrines, the characters, hope and how they were all related. This went on for the three years that Hymes spent at seminary school. She says that she and her classmates still keep in touch and have their post-show discussion, but these days they take place on Facebook.
Hymes thinks this show as a way to “meet people where they are.” She believes that as a dedicated fan of the series, she can use this commonality with students to open up a discourse about life, especially trauma, grief and loss.
To Hymes, these topics as important ones discuss with young adults as she was a trauma chaplain at Bayfront Health and has seen how not dealing with these events can affect an individual.
“Not being able to name that there are losses, and not being able to grieve them slowly chips away at our humanity,” Hymes said. “It keeps us separated from other people and from God, for those who believe in a higher power.”
For the first watch party on Sunday, six people showed up for the snacks and discussion, and Hymes is optimistic that the crowd size will grow larger due to word-of-mouth as the audience that did attend were more eager for the discussion than she expected.
This occasion is a part of the renovation of the chapel. There are other events planned for future semesters, including an improv event, as the chaplain was a stand-up comedian in a past life.
Interested students can show up at the St. Anselm’s Episcopal Chapel Center at USF on 50th Street at 8:30 p.m. every Sunday night that the show will air.
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