Tag Archive | "chapel"

Letter from the editor: Chapel isn’t about you

Read that title again. And then read it once more the next time you walk into the Chapel-Auditorium. Whether you think chapel attendance should be mandatory or voluntary or if you prefer traditional or modern worship, those details aren’t why you should go.

Chapel isn’t about singing songs you like or hearing messages that feel good to you. It’s not about agreeing with everything that’s said and done on stage and tweeting about what you don’t like. And it’s certainly not about doing homework during the service and standing up to leave during the benediction.

Quite simply, it’s about praising God.

One could also argue it’s about respect. No matter how you feel about any aspect of chapel, the concept as a whole is a matter of respect toward God and should be treated as such.

I’m not saying we should eliminate all discussions regarding chapel and how to make it better. However, those conversations should be constructive and not based solely on personal preferences. I understand and appreciate the desire to improve the chapel experience and I can think of at least three or four specific services that left many students, including myself, scratching our heads.

But I believe our God is intricate; the same One who brought us all to Indiana Wesleyan University for a specific purpose. Couldn’t this God who obviously plans far ahead use a chapel I thought was pointless to touch the life of someone who needed to hear it at that moment?

You bet.

Chapel is always a hot-button issue, and with good reason. On a campus representing many majors, socioeconomic statuses and (believe it or not) ethnic backgrounds, chapel is one of only a few experiences nearly all IWU students have in common. All the more reason we should treat it with the respect and courtesy it deserves, along with the students, staff and faculty who work hard to make it happen.

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Students respond to return of cold weather, classes

Despite subzero temperatures, Indiana Wesleyan University students and faculty trudged against wind and snow to classes. Some students had a more lighthearted and humorous opinion on the lack of class cancellation.

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“I am literally going to cry thinking about walking in -25 degree temperatures tomorrow morning. #cruel ‪#iwu” said Twitter user @larsenkaylaa last night.

“I can’t worship under these conditions. #IWUCANCELLATIONS #IWU,” quipped user @Nathan_Hudson.

“Good thing Jesus has experience putting ears back on, because mine just froze off #freezing #iwu” joked user @toricrofford.

Other students didn’t find walking in the freezing temperatures quite as funny.

“It’s not too late to still cancel the rest of classes.. It will be too late after multiple asthma attacks, falls, and car accidents.” said user @elumston.

@heyyyitsAlaine posted a screenshot of the weather report, with the post, “Something like this tells me we shouldn’t have school today or tomorrow.”

While students raised concerns about everything from the extremely low temperatures to unsafe travel conditions, not all minded going to class.

Lydia Flynn (so) was amongst the students who understood the university’s decision.

“I can understand why, because we are behind in some of our classes. But if it hadn’t been for the recent snow days, they probably would have canceled,” said Flynn (so) “But I don’t think I would have made the same decision.”

Students are already buzzing about tomorrow’s negative temperatures, high wind speeds and wind chill effects. With tundra-inspired temperatures on the horizon, they’ll continue to wonder why classes aren’t canceled tomorrow.

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The skinny on chapel skips


Thinking about skipping chapel? Second semester seniors at Indiana Wesleyan University do not face a penalty for missing more than the six allotted chapel skips. The only seniors who could run into trouble are those in leadership positions or students considering IWU’s grad school.

Micah Walls (alumnus ‘13) discovered this after missing multiple chapels toward the end of his final semester, but still receiving his diploma following graduation last spring.

Assistant Dean of the Chapel Cindy Ruder supervises student chapel attendants and student office workers in the chapel. She also makes sure students follow the attendance policies and procedures.

According to Ruder, the Registrar does not withhold student transcripts following the student’s final semester for missing chapel.

“As long as chapel is not completed for academic credit, such as making it a pass/fail course, we do not hold on to the students transcripts,” said Ruder. “The policy is primarily in place for students only interested in returning to the university.”

Ruder said she does send an email to students notifying them they have a hold on their account, even if they graduated. The email also informs students not making up missed chapels could affect them getting into the school’s graduate program.

While students may not plan to get their masters degree at IWU, they should still be cautious. For Walls, he didn’t anticipate attending IWU’s graduate program until after graduation. Following his application to seminary, Walls was notified he would have to make-up the chapels he failed to attend.

“Don’t skip chapel,” Walls said. “I really respect it, I just got lazy my last semester, and almost a year later I have to make them up.”

In a Facebook status, Walls joked about being able to potentially pay off chapel skips. When presented with this alternative suggestion Ruder was quick to turn it down by saying, “No, there is not a monetary option attached to chapel.”

Some Christian colleges such as Anderson University and Biola University have stricter policies than IWU, and issue fines to students who don’t follow chapel restrictions.

At Anderson, multiple chapel offenses can lead to students paying fines ranging from $75 for minor offenses to $150 for extreme offenses per semester.

What’s unique about Biola, is they do not require seniors to attend chapel their final semester. All other students, however, could receive a hefty fine of $375 if they don’t attend 30 chapels or meet make-up requirements.

At Huntington University, students are required to attend only 30 chapel services out of about 75 opportunities per semester. For seniors who fail to reach that mark, they are still able to walk at graduation, but the school will not release their diploma until they either pay a $150 fine or complete community service hours.

If an IWU student misses more than the six allotted skips, they must complete chapel “make-ups.” What students may not know is they can be penalized for missing too much chapel. First time offenses typically result in registration and housing holds for the following semester. After the fourth offense however, exceeding chapel absences can ultimately lead to dismissal from the university.

Students who fail to meet chapel attendance standards meet with Ruder to discuss ways the student can fulfill their chapel requirements.

“The policy is, you can do up to 50 percent of chapel make ups through community service,” Ruder said. “The other half you can do through listening to chapel recordings, or you can do all of them through chapel recordings, it’s really the student’s choice.”

Seniors who hold leadership positions on campus will risk termination depending on the contracts of the organization they are associated with if missing excessive chapels.

Ruder will still send an email to the academic advisers notifying them of the situation, but if the student is not intending to attend graduate school at IWU, he will receive his diploma following graduation.

For seniors interested in working at the university following graduation, Human Resources does not pay attention to the number of chapels skipped.

Human Resource Associate Diana Delph explained how she views the hiring process.

“Missing chapel is not a criminal offense,” she said. “That’s not something we follow up on when considering candidates from the university, that’s between you and the Lord.”

Ruder hopes seniors have come to appreciate chapel during their duration at the university, and also hope they take advantage of the multiple opportunities they have to worship.

“My prayer is that as students grow through chapel their freshman, sophomore and junior year, by their senior year they will appreciate what chapel has to offer,” Ruder said.

“Unless you’re going into ministry, you will quickly learn that the secular workplace doesn’t offer chapel,” Ruder stated. “Hopefully students will keep that in mind.”

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Chapel speaker makes offer to students

DSC_7784Al Tompkins is the senior faculty for broadcasting and online at The Poynter Institute. He’s also speaking at Indiana Wesleyan University’s Friday chapel services. But Tompkins didn’t wait until Friday to make a bold statement to IWU students: He will write an apology letter to anyone who doesn’t feel his message is worthwhile.

Yes. You read that correctly.

Tompkins made his unprecedented promise Saturday in a comment on The Sojourn’s website.

“I promise that if you don’t find our time together to be worth every minute on Friday-come see me after the service, give me your mailing address and I will write you a hand written letter of apology for wasting your time,” Tompkins said in response to a letter to the editor regarding IWU students’ attitude toward chapel.

And don’t think he’s kidding.

“I could not be more serious,” Tompkins added. “Hold me accountable.”

Tompkins said later in a phone interview with The Sojourn he appreciated the conversation going on in the thread he contributed to.

“Everybody who was talking in this thread was talking from a real place that they cared about, and I think that’s just invigorating,’ Tompkins said. “I think we ought to pay attention to that. Especially those of us who are honored enough to be able to come in from the outside and speak, I think we have to be really careful that we don’t waste anybody’s time.”

Tompkins also said he viewed this opportunity as something that comes with an “obligation to be the best you can be at that time,” citing the influence speakers can have on their large and captive audience.

Students can expect Friday’s message to focus on the stories of three ordinary individuals who “changed their corner of the world,” according to Tompkins.

As for the offer, Tompkins said he intends to stick to his promise, but isn’t sure if anyone will take him up on it.

“I hope not,” Tompkins said. “But I certainly mean it.”

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