The week before Easter Break, Indiana Wesleyan University students had a unique chapel
credit opportunity: Stations of the Cross.
This Catholic-based tradition was brought here by Emily Fussner (sr) after she experienced it in
New Zealand and Italy. The idea behind it is for believers to use artwork to remember and focus
on Jesus’ journey to the cross in the Lenten season. Fussner, a printmaking major, said the idea
to bring Stations of the Cross to IWU came to her last summer.
“It was a random, God-inspired idea,” Fussner said. “I was thinking how, on our campus, it’s
such a busy time of the semester, and we’re rushing to get things done and get home, and we
don’t necessarily take the time to reflect on [the Easter season and what it means].”
Fifteen stations were set up around campus, each with a piece of art based on a scripture about
Jesus’ journey from the garden of Gethsemane to the resurrection. Traditionally, there are only
14 stations, ending with Jesus’ death.
The IWU version included a final station dedicated to Jesus’ resurrection. Fussner summed
it up as “an art installation prayer walk.” The mediums included everything from painting and
illustration to ceramics to origami to video art.
If students walked through all the stations and filled out a booklet provided by the Dean of the
Chapel Office, they received one chapel credit.
“I have believed for a long time that worship is much more than just the music we do in chapel
or preaching — there are different ways of worshipping the Lord,” said Jim Lo, dean of the
chapel. “When Emily came to our office and said, ‘Is this a possibility?’ we jumped on that,
because our God is a creative God. … It’s the whole idea that there are different ways of
connecting with God, and art is one of the ways to do it. … We wanted students to understand
that worship is more than a worship service.”
The entire project was a study in collaboration, according to Fussner. Within the Art Division,
she worked with professors to make some of the stations class projects. Outside that, she
coordinated with the DOC, Campus Police and Conference Services. Some stations had
entire classes working on the pieces, whereas others involved only a couple of students who
Graphic design major Amanda Reller (jr) worked on the seventh station in Noggle Christian
Ministries Center with her typography class and also helped with much of the advertising. She
described her group’s station as a reflective piece about Jesus carrying his cross, portrayed as
a figure covered in shattered mirror pieces.
“We wanted to articulate that we are the ones crucifying Jesus — it’s because of our mistakes,”
explained Reller. “The whole idea was that the purpose of Easter is to reflect upon what Jesus
did and how it’s directly related to who we are.”
In an effort to connect Stations of the Cross to other parts of the campus’ recognition of Easter,
the Holy Week liturgical service and Wednesday chapel emphasized many of the same verses
from the art exhibit, according to chapel coordinator Jennifer Martin. Those in the weekly
Wednesday morning prayer walk specifically followed the path of the stations the week before in
order to pray that those who went through it would feel the presence of God by what was being
The student response was more enthusiastic than anticipated — the original hundred booklets
the DOC printed ended up being insufficient. Lo said the experience was not limited to IWU
students and staff, however. He witnessed members of the community coming to see the
artwork on campus. This positive reaction is much of the reason he would like to see Stations of
the Cross repeated in the future.
“It was a lot of work, but it was worth it,” said Lo. “The spiritual responses were so wonderful,
and that’s why we feel like it’s something we need to continue doing in years to come.”