Chapel in the 50s was held in the building that later became the bookstore, the copy center, and now houses human resources and campus security. There were only about 120 students on campus and, it will be hard for this generation to believe, we were seated alphabetically. We were also required to attend Sunday morning and Sunday evening services there unless we had a Christian Service assignment at another church. Wednesday night prayer meeting was also required.
Highlights for me (a new Christian at the time) were the preachers who really taught the Word. My favorite was always Dr. Jeremiah, but we had other good teachers who came to campus. Dr. Robert Ketchum came at least once a year.
I learned how to listen and take notes at the same time by taking notes in chapel, a habit I still have. I had never learned how to do that in high school, but that really helped me in college classes and later in grad school.
The daily chapel was a great way to make it truly a Cedarville family. We worshipped together and prayed together. We knew the concerns and praises of the other students, so we truly learned to care for one another. Many of those students are lifelong friends.
Sandra (Millikin) Entner ’59, Xenia, Ohio
A group of us were sitting toward the back center section of the chapel in Alford, I believe in assigned seats as was the practice. The speaker must have been less than inspiring that day as my friend, Neal, fell asleep during the service.
During this era at Cedarville, falling asleep in chapel was near-capital offense, so in order to protect Neal’s near-perfect conduct record, I decided to wake him up. I reached over and poked him in the side. I didn’t know that Neal was extremely sensitive and ticklish, and what happened next is the stuff of legends.
He reacted as if he just was overtaken with a southern-style camp meeting slaying of the Spirit. He stood up and shouted in a tone that might have been interpreted as speaking in tongues, flailing his arms. Of course my purpose was accomplished — he woke up! The look on his face, framed by red-faced embarrassment, was priceless.
I am sure he paid me back in kind somehow, although that part is a blur.
David Gregory ’69, Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania
Chapel met in Alford Auditorium, where some of us spent nights building theatre sets. The tiny entryways were always jammed with students crossing off their ID numbers at their assigned doors.
We sat in squeaky old theatre seats in the overcrowded space with the faculty seated on stage, their absence or attention visible. The organ played Sweet Hour of Prayer as the signal to get quiet, and then the lights dimmed. As the student body increased, the overflow crowd was sent to one of the upstairs classrooms in the Gym/Student Center(GSC) with remote feeds on a small mounted TV screen. It was dreadful, a complete disconnect from the service.
At least once, we had the fall Bible conference evening meetings in the gym. Missionary conference was a huge deal, with a contest for students to compose a theme song for the week.
Paula (Prater) Priour ’73 and Jerry Grayson ’72 sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” suggesting that Simon and Garfunkel meant Jesus was the bridge, beginning a new era of having special music okayed in advance.
Faculty sometimes preached, and Mr. Spencer got a laugh by apologizing for the glare off his bald head before he began. A young, visiting evangelist named Paul Dixon taught us to sing “I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus.”
Old Doc Ketcham, nearly blind, preached a series on Psalm 23, telling us to “get your little old sheep nose down in the Scriptures.” Tiny Norma Nulph, a missionary in Cleveland, stood on a box behind the podium to be seen as she spoke of her work in the inner city.
Judy Johnson ’73, Yellow Springs, Ohio
Chapel was the highlight of my four years of college! I was so challenged by the speakers who taught us God’s Word and how to apply it to our lives. I remember Dr. Dixon speaking on Proverbs 2 and David Jeremiah ’63, Jack Willets, Don Jennings, and Bill Rudd feeding us spiritual food so we could grow into maturity. What a great way to renew our minds and be equipped for service for His Kingdom!
The funniest memory was when we returned for homecoming. Someone let a mouse loose in chapel, and it ran all over. We all tried to keep our feet up, but probably don’t remember the speaker’s message that day.
Our class walked 20 miles to Springfield to raise money for the pews in the James T. Jeremiah Chapel. It was wonderful to be all together and lift our voices up in praise to the Lord!
Sharon (Hopkins) Bowman ’77, Plainwell, Michigan
Chapel was one hour of guaranteed respite each day when I did not have to take notes or worry about the next assignment that was due. My favorite memory in chapel was when Al Smith led singing during the Bible conferences. He was an entertaining, yet spiritual, worship leader.
I remember singing Christ Is All I Need with Dr. Paul Dixon each time he came to visit, before he became president.
One quarter we had multiple messages from the same passages about Paul’s reluctance to take John Mark with him on the missionary trip. One speaker had no idea why students started laughing when he announced his subject, but kept on with his planned message.
David Johnson ’80, The Woodlands, Texas
My first memory of chapel was hearing Pastor Green’s “Diamond in the Rough” message for new students during orientation. I think it was already a “classic” in the annals of Cedarville chapel messages.
My favorite memory of chapel was the singing. I had been saved for only a few years when I arrived at Cedarville. The church I attended had only about 50 members, so singing wasn’t exactly a highlight of services. I couldn’t believe the beautiful sound of 1,000 voices lifted in song at daily chapel services.
My all-time favorite song from those services was Wonderful Grace of Jesus. To this day, whenever we sing that song in church, I hear the voices of Cedarville faculty and students in my head. I’ve never heard that song done as well as chapel services at Cedarville in 1979––1981.
Debbie (Fakan) Shattuck ’81, Rapid City, South Dakota
My favorite chapel memories are of Dr. Dixon leading the entire student body in Christ Is All I Need. It moved me every time! It made an impression on me that Dr. James T. Jeremiah attended chapel.
Dr. Dixon introduced the famous Cincinnati Bengal, Anthony Munoz . We clapped for him, and when he stood up, there was an audible gasp as this very large, very tall man stood up and moved toward the stage. We were mesmerized!
Sherri (Wilson) Patterson ’84, Louisville, Kentucky
Chapel holds so many memories for me. From Dr. Dixon leading Christ Is All I Need like a choir director, to the library move day when Dr. Dixon showed up wearing jeans and no socks!
It was all grand, but, I’d have to say my fondest memory was when Dr. Gromacki came on stage in a rather unkempt manner. Throughout his talk, he changed his clothes (in good taste, of course) into a nice suit and tie. It drove home the point that we are to make a transformation from the old life to new life in Christ!
Sue (Orth) Boyd ’90, Maple Valley, Washington
Knowing our whole student body would be together, every day, at 10 a.m.! I often wondered just how public universities disseminated information to all their students (preelectronic age) without chapel as a forum.
Kate (Rockey) Gross ’91, Pullman, Washington
When I think of chapel at Cedarville, the first thing that comes to my mind is, “An Unchanging Christ for a Changing World.”
Stephanie (Saville) Ahrens ’96, Springfield, Virginia
I remember gold pews in the Jeremiah Chapel and chapel themes (“Christ Above All”) that went up on the wall. Dr. Drullinger played the organ in sock feet, and we saved entire rows with those blue hymnals.
Great messages from SGA chaplains, Nathan Elmore ’94 and Mark Totten ’96. How strange it felt to sit somewhere other than your “usual” spot. “Chapel checkers” and crossing your name off the list in pencil. (Other) students being called up front to receive 4.0 mugs. Dandelion speeches.
The snickers that erupted when Dr. Dixon declared it “Green Day at Cedarville!” (to honor PG and his wife, Margaret, not the rock band). The fast-talking missionary, Ed Lewis, and Staley Lectures that never seemed to end.
Stepping over backpacks and winter coats to get to your seat, if you could find a seat. Dr. Dixon and Dr. Jeremiah seated on the platform. The 10 a.m. gathering of “the college family.”
Carol Lee ’96, Cedarville, Ohio
Bill Bolthouse, Jr., while using a golf analogy about missions, invited Dr. Dixon to the platform to hit a whiffle ball out into the audience. Dr. Dixon topped his drive right into the forehead of a student in the front row, and everyone applauded.
He spoke about showing generosity to missionaries — when they come home on furlough, don’t take them to the thrift store for clothes. Take them to the mall and spend some money on them. I often think of this lesson as I purchase Bolthouse carrots at the store.
Another speaker referenced The Lion King, when Mufasa tells Simba, “Remember who you are.” As God’s children, we are children of the King of Kings. I remember who I am every time my children watch The Lion King. I am amazed how something I learned more than 14 years ago is still part of my daily life.
I loved singing the chorus from Micah 6:8: “He has shown thee, Oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of Thee, but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.”
Marianne (Palmer) Schuck ’97, Westerville, Ohio
My favorite chapel was when Tony Events was preaching in the James T. Jeremiah Chapel in 1996. The power went out, and he still went on preaching in the dark. Everyone that was in the satellite auditoriums came over and sat on the floor and steps and finished listening to him preach. He had a powerful voice, and everyone could still hear him even though his microphone was not working. We closed with an a capella song. It was beautiful.
Sarah (Mattke) Garland ’97, Slinger, Wisconsin
In my four years, I attended nearly 600 chapel services. It was such a formative experience as nearly 3,000 in our family gathered together to learn, worship, grow, and be challenged. And later, in Chuck’s or in class, we’d evaluate and wrestle through chapel messages. I’m fascinated by the sense of community and identity that was established as we were together each weekday. Other universities may build camaraderie and spirit through sporting events or other activities, but chapel is an experience that shapes Cedarville’s culture and community in a powerful way.
Joel Tomkinson ’03, Cedarville, Ohio
One of the most memorable chapel days for me was the day that the women’s dress code changed from skirts to pants. When the announcement was made from the podium, there was heard the loudest, longest scream that ever went up in a Cedarville chapel. My roommate and I were against the dress code change, and I think we were the only girls not screaming in the whole auditorium. That was certainly a historical day in Cedarville’s history!
Emily Plate Williams ’04
I remember Dr. Brown and Dr. Dixon sparing back and forth about dandelions. Dandelion gifts were exchanged while Dr. Brown extolled the virtues of dandelions and Dr. Dixon continued his rant against anything and everything dandelion.
Drew Flamm ’05
White Christmas. That’s all I have to say.
Chad Jackson ’05
One of my favorite memories is when my friend, Michael Clutz ’05, was supposed to pray in chapel. He was as nervous as could be and we all told him we would pray for him while he was praying in front of 3,000-plus people. The time came to bow our heads in prayer, but also for the worship team to move into place. As Michael prayed, we heard a loud racket coming from the stage. I opened my eyes just in time to see the guitarist and his stool fall off the back of the riser ... feet in the air and all. Needless to say, our prayers for the attention to be off Michael were answered.
Mark McDaniel ’05
I remember Mike DiCuirci leading everyone in the Lion of Judah during Fall Bible Conference and streams of students going forward to give money for the Katrina relief offering in 2005.
Either my junior or senior year, one of the teams from the spring break MIS trip came back with scabies. We kept getting emails from health services warning us about the outbreak. So, one SGA chapel they poked fun at it with a skit where Chris Harmon ’09 dressed up like a scabie ... which was just a giant lobster costume.
Marilyn Lazlo spoke about her ministry in Papua, New Guinea, and shared about her singleness. She said that she wasn’t necessarily happy being single for Jesus, and she was still available and looking. She definitely took amazing risks as a single woman ministering in that part of the world.
WWII airman Louis Zamperini’s chapel with Dr. Brown was amazing. There were jokes going around campus about how Louis Zamperini could beat up Chuck Norris.
Christina (Taylor) Mohler ’07, Charlotte, North Carolina
I remember when Steve Saint came and read from Da Jesus Book, the Bible translated into Pidgin. Between the simplicity of the Gospel to reach all tribes and nations and his story of going back to minister to a people who killed his father — it was hard not tear up.
Kimberly Bowen ’10
My freshman year, Scott Lehr ’00 came and said, “My God is so big, my God is so strong, there’s nothing my God cannot do.” He told us how his wife was diagnosed with HIV, but through a miracle of God, after crazy amounts of prayer and faith, she was found not to have HIV. I remember his story and his faith, and I pray that God will give me the faith to believe there is nothing so big or so bad that my God cannot fix or heal.
Lisa (Gray) Linder ’10 Powell, Ohio