Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cornerstone University Chapel

Cornerstone University holds chapel three days each week; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Chapel is a time for Cornerstone students and faculty to come together as a campus and focus on worshiping and growing together in faith. Students and faculty work hard through the week to prepare for these weekly chapels.

Setup for chapel begins at 6 a.m. on chapel days. Early rising student employees, fondly known as “chair bears” set up the stage, chairs, and equipment for every chapel.

Melissa Shepard, a junior sings lead vocals for chapel. Seeing the campus come together and worship can be a great way to see the students’ heart for God, explains CU sophomore Raya Rubino. “It’s an outward expression or inward joy,” says Raya Rubino, a CU sophomore.

Erik Rice, freshman and Kyle Szucs, junior arrive early to practice the songs for chapel. Rice joined chapel band as a guitar player this year. “I used to lead worship at my old church, and I missed it,” said Rice “I prayed about it beforehand and made sure it was what God wanted, and then I decided to try out.”

Luke Salik, plays guitar and sings lead vocals for chapel band. Friday chapels are dedicated to musical worship only.

Tuesday chapels feature Cornerstone University president Joe Stowell as a speaker. “I like that our president is involved with the student body and I feel like his speaking at chapel is a good way to do that,” says Alyssa Vandermate, a CU sophomore.

Jamie Hathaway (left) and Jeanne Peake, both freshmen. Cornerstone University requires students to attend 25 chapels each semester or suffer the consequence of fines. Students have mixed feelings about chapel being required. “If they didn’t require it I’m not sure I’d go as much as I do. But I think sometimes I forget how much I like chapel until I go,” says Janessa Slayton, a CU sophomore. “I forget how good it is for me.”

“For me, sometimes chapel music is what gets me through the day, just the words of it,” says Melissa Vanleeuen, a CU sophomore.

Cornerstone senior, Jake Houf is one of the audio technicians on campus. He runs sounds during many chapels during the year. “Audio is a passion and hobby of mine, so the job fit well,” Houf said.

“I like chapel because everyone is coming together as a community and worshiping the Lord together and I think that it is awesome. I also think it helps us as Christians with keeping up in our faith and learning new things every day,” says junior Emma Kelly.

Chuck Swanson arrives early to chapel and listens as the band practices before giving his goodbye chapel message. Swanson, Vice President of Spiritual Formation, prepared this message as his farewell to the Cornerstone University faculty and student body.

Melissa Shepard, junior and Erik Rice, freshman are part of CU’s chapel band. “I think campus worship is important,” says Rice. “It can help to get your heart right and ready for the message.”

For CU junior Emma Kelly, chapel is more than just a CU contract requirement. “There are times where I am having a completely horrible day and I’ll go to chapel and it just turns everything around," says Kelly. "It’s either the message that can relate to how I’m feeling or the worship that makes me feel better."

By Meredith Laden