Devotional is a weekly occurrence at BYU-Idaho. It is held every Tuesday at 2:10 p.m.
Devotional can seem like a simple task, but there is a great deal of hard work and detail that goes into a devotional.
“First, we have the speakers,” said Trish Gannaway, the guest hosting and institutional events coordinator. “President Clark G. Gilbert’s executive group approves the speakers for devotional.”
Gannaway said that every semester, they are given two to three speakers from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City.
“Then we fill in the rest with people from campus,” Gannaway said. “We try to get two others besides the general authorities from off campus, not employees, but people who are somehow affiliated with the university.”
Gannaway said speakers are notified sometimes months in advance before their designated devotional.
Gannaway said students are assigned to give the opening prayer or spiritual thought a week ahead of time.
“We just ask a couple of faculty members to submit names for each semester of students they think would do a great job and that would really love that experience, of praying and giving a scripture at devotional,” Gannaway said.
Gannaway said speakers are asked to give a devotional address within a given time frame that would help inspire and teach students.
Gannaway said speakers are told to have the speech written and submitted two weeks prior to devotional.
“We have to have it about two weeks in advance just for all the different things that have to happen with their talks,” Gannaway said.
The speech has to be put into the teleprompter, graphics must be laid out and displayed in accordance with the speech.
“They might want to rehearse it with the teleprompter because most people have never used a teleprompter before, and so they like that opportunity,” Gannaway said.
The media relations department needs the speech in advance so they can look for quotes that they want to live-tweet during devotional and put on Facebook.
Gannaway said the ASL interpreters needs the speech beforehand to practice signing for the hearing impaired audience members at devotional.
Gannaway said mistakes do happen during devotional.
“As we noted a few weeks ago when the graphics went awry with the hymn,” Gannaway said. “It’s really quite a miracle that we can do devotionals without tons of mistakes happening.”
Gannaway said the AV department plays a major role in preparing for devotional.
“They do everything,” Gannaway said. “The lighting, the sound, you know, setting up the stage. Making sure that for the various musical numbers everything is set for the lighting and the seating for the musicians, different types of accompanists that accompany musical numbers. The pulpit and the microphone being raised and lowered.”
Gannaway said the AV department employs many students who help with devotional every week, and anywhere from 15 to 20 full time employees play a crucial part as well.
Gannaway said that every week, she plans the luncheon that occurs before devotional every Tuesday. The luncheon includes the speaker, sometimes the speaker’s family and President Gilbert and his wife. There are times when faculty members and students are invited to the luncheon as well.
Gannaway said that the week before devotional, they send out invitations for the luncheon, and the morning of, they send a text or email out to guests for a reminder. This reminder also helps the catering department to know how many people will be eating and how many meals they will need to prepare.
Every Monday afternoon, students in the Flower Center class design the floral center-piece for devotional.
“We take (the flowers) from the cooler, put them in the truck and go down there (to the BYU-Idaho Center) and then we just cut the stems and design them into the foam,” said Dayla Hadrelie, a Flower Center teacher assistant and a senior studying horticulture. “So it doesn’t really take time to prepare them. Usually takes two hours to design the piece.”
Hadrelie said that every week, two students from the Flower Center class design the arrangement.
Hadrelie said the floral design cannot be too tall, or it will cover the whole podium. Floral Center students avoid some flowers because of color or how fast they wither.
“We try not to use dark purples because dark purples don’t show up on camera,” Hadrelie said. “If we do white flowers, they have to be all white, so we can’t do pink and white because the white will explode on the camera, and you won’t be able to see the pink ones.”
Hadrelie said the floral arrangement can cost anywhere from $200 to $400, depending on the type of flower used. She said that on average, the floral arrangement can use about three buckets of flowers.
Gannaway said the last-minute arrangements include a dress rehearsal where the the organist receives the text of the speech, and they practice beforehand with the teleprompter and the graphics. She said the speaker is also able to proofread the speech and make last minute changes.
After devotional, a video is posted on the devotional website. The speaker will also go to the BYU-I radio station to talk about how devotional went.
“There is a lot of other details that we have to worry about, but in the end, the most important thing is the message,” Gannaway said.