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Core chapel credit opportunities drop 12 percent from last year

All undergraduate students must attend 30 chapels per semester. Students have fewer opportunities to acquire core chapel credits this year than the 2013-2014 school year. (Photo by Christian Herrera).
All undergraduate students must attend 30 chapels per semester. Students have fewer opportunities to acquire core chapel credits this year than the 2013-2014 school year. (Photo by Jac Rhine)

There are 12 percent fewer core chapel credit opportunities this semester compared to the 2013-2014 school year, according to data provided by campus ministries. Arthur Wilson, campus pastor, said they will  also be enforcing stricter rules over commuter chapels.

Wilson said he felt residential students attending commuter chapels was disrespectful toward commuter students.

“We don’t want commuter chapel to become a place or time for people to catch up on their chapel credits because they’re running late,” he said. “That’s [commuters’] time. It’s supposed to be meaningful.”

Forty-three students were penalized last semester for failing to acquire the required 30 chapel credits, Amber Rensberger, secretary to student development services, said. Thirty-one students were penalized in spring 2014 and 41 were penalized in fall 2013.

While he “understand[s] the crunch of trying to get chapel credits,” Wilson said he believes there are more practical ways for residential students to reach their 30 chapel credit goal. He said students were “not being cheated” on credit opportunities provided this semester.

There are 54 available chapel credits this semester – not including the new small groups on campus – as opposed to 55 during the fall 2014 semester. Each semester averages 20 elective chapel credits per semester, according to the data.

“I believe some of it has been a scheduling issue,” Rensberger said. “We share the space with quite a few groups on campus, plus it’s the only auditorium Huntington has. That could be part of it. I know we’ve had to give up some time more this year than in the past. … For example, freshman orientation now does their alpha group stuff on Fridays at 11 a.m., so that took six of our core possibilities.”

There are roughly 20 to 30 additional chapel credits besides the ones scheduled each semester, according to campus ministries.

Wilson said this helps commuter students.

“I think that for students who live on this campus, spiritual formation opportunities are great — are fantastic,” Wilson said. “But I will admit that, in some ways, commuters have been neglected.”

Due to the late scheduling of Ekklesia chapels, Rensberger said commuters typically do not attend because they have nowhere on campus to stay until chapel begins.

“When you think about the academic schedule in general,” Rensberger said, “it’s usually the Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes that take dominance. Tuesdays and Thursdays are not as prominent. So a lot of our commuters don’t have Tuesday and Thursday classes altogether. So they have to make a special trip just to be here for chapel which is not fair.”

Wilson agreed.

“It’s late, they have to travel,” he said. “There are a lot of factors that come into play.”

For students who experience scheduling conflicts or difficulty meeting the 30 chapel credit requirement, Wilson said students can submit a chapel credit exemption form.

“We aren’t here to shackle and chain people,” Wilson said. “We understand life happens. But at some point, people have to assume responsibility for seeking out information. It’s here. You can do it.”

STATISTICS: Amber Rensberger provided an approximation  on the official chapel credit count offered by campus ministries within the  last three years. (Chart by Christian Herrera)
STATISTICS: Amber Rensberger provided an approximation on the official chapel credit count offered by campus ministries within the last three years. (Chart by Christian Herrera)

17 comments on “Core chapel credit opportunities drop 12 percent from last year

  1. First of all, you know why so many people were penalized last year? Cause you didn’t keep to the required times that chapel was supposed to be offered. There are scheduled times for a reason, and then you decide to take out almost all of the friday chapels and half of the wednesday chapels and expect us to still make the required amount? Wow. There are things such as being sick and staying up too late trying to get our actually school work done. We’re here to study and get our degree, not to got to chapel. Sometimes our projects take more importance than listening to a sermon on a topic we’ve all heard over and over before.

    And as for those 20 to 30 extra credits available, yeah, guess when they all are, During Our Classes! No way! It is made especially hard for a DMA student to make it to these extras because we have evening classes with projects due every week that require our time.

    Second, you take out 12 percent of the offered chapel hours and then you try to put stricter standards on us? You say that we should go to more chapels and then you say that when it comes to the end of the semester and we might not have enough because we’ve actually been spending our time working on our studies and projects that you won’t let us come to the available chapels left? Just wow. Either cut the amount of required chapels, or give us more chapels to attend. You know, the ones during the actual scheduled chapel hours.

    Our responsibility should be to our studies and those alone. That’s the whole reason we’re here at school. There are even some atheist students here on campus. You don’t think requiring them to attend chapels is kind of shoving the bible down their throats just a little? That’s hot how we as christians should act. And frankly, being required to learn about God actually makes me want to learn about Him less.

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  2. I agree with everything Caitlin just said. The fact that they cut chapels and expect us to put chapel attendance at a higher priority than the degree that we came here for is appalling; we are paying for a degree not to sit in an auditorium and be preached at not preached to. Not to mention that the quality of chapel has declined through the three and a half years I have been here. Chapel has become an obligation and not a desirable event.

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  3. Yes to all these things. Last semester it was atrocious communication. “It’s the student’s responsibility to accomplish chapel and treat it like a required class.” Last time I checked, required classes TOLD US when class was scheduled and if TIME CHANGED.
    Don’t pin that on us, that was your slip up.

    Honestly chapel shouldn’t be treated that way, I HATE going to chapel, as most do. This is because I feel more like a tool and an ATM then a student. I don’t feel like they care for our spirituality. I look forward to church, I despise going to chapel. I honestly don’t believe you when you say this is to enrich us spiritually. I’m fine with chapel, whatever, but this is ridiculous. The whole thing feels like it has a hidden agenda.

    If you’re running out of funding to do enough chapels, CUT THE REQUIREMENTS. The ministry department is stretched thin and funds are cut but don’t take it out on us.

    This is a christian school spouting christian morals yet I feel very cynical hearing them. I honestly no longer believe you. I feel used I don’t feel like the students are a priority anymore. Just a tool.

    Obviously I’m not alone either.

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  4. Voice of Reason

    What’s this? Our students aren’t making it to chapels? Well! I guess we should cut even MORE CHAPELS.

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  5. Cynical Senior

    Wow this class sure does have a lot of chapel slackers this semester. Well it has nothing to do with our cutting available chapels and not tell them about it! Obviously.

    Plus we make bank from all these chapel fines!

    “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[e] but you are making it ‘a den of thieves.”

    WWJD? run through the department flipping tables probably so look forward to that.

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  6. Josiah Clements

    “We aren’t here to shackle and chain people,” Wilson said. “We understand life happens. But at some point, people have to assume responsibility for seeking out information. It’s here. You can do it.”

    Forcing people to attend chapel is letting them “assume responsibility”? Do you think before you speak, or is it some involuntary spewing, a gag reflex in response to questions? How could you possibly think that makes sense?

    Offer voluntary chapel. People who want to go will go and get what they want out of it. Forcing people to go who don’t want to be there only makes them hate it more. Trust me, I am one of those people. Negative re-enforcement does not create a positive or healthy environment for gross. Perhaps instead of using the threat of fines and community service as a vice around our heads, you may want to try positive re-enforcement; offer some advantage or reward for those who do take the time out of their lives to sit in a seat for 45 minutes listening to some figure drone on. All the chapel fines from years in the past should cover the cost.

    I know that Huntington may never change it’s policy on mandatory Chapel because they do not care about their students. All of their policies are focused on attracting the money pushing parents like flies to honey. If they cared about their students, then they would listen to us. However I will not sit passively as I see my tuition and time drained away from me with no return.

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  7. Probably not Blake

    I’m an animation and computer science double major. I am graduating in four years even with that double. I’ve somehow managed to keep a high GPA all these years. I’ve always had a full load or overload schedule. While I don’t agree with everything that has been done, I think most of the people complaining about this probably need a reality check. Life is a lot harder once you’re out of here. Yes, chapels can be annoying, and inconvenient, and a Hassel, and possibly not even mean anything to you. But so what? You came here. And then you chose to come back another year… And then another! It’s almost as if… *gasp* you like it here?!

    There are crappy parts to each campus and university. Maybe chapel is the crappy part of your experience here at Huntington. That’s fine… But you’re going to just have to deal with it. Somehow I’ve managed to and I’m fine. It hasn’t been easy to fit them in… But let’s be real… What would we truly use that time for? Maybe Wed do homework then… But only to have fun or watch Netflix later. Who are we kidding, to say that any we actually need the time? I know triple majors who have managed to make it too. Even with schedule issues and cut opportunities, I’ve managed to make it every time. And Crazy, yeah, I know.

    Working towards change for the better is one thing. Whining and complaining is another.

    I’ll end on this note:

    “Blah blah yap yap dribble dribble dribble.”
    -ye Olde proverb

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  8. Awww… A bunch of comments deleted and censored.

    Good work Huntingtonian.

    #FreeSpeechIsDead

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  9. Cynical Senior

    To be fair, it was a troll being lolsie.

    One more thing I want to to say then I’m gone. I really disagree with the lets not have chapel requirements. There are situations that can make it hard to accomplish but mostly it is neglect on some part. Last year was in huge part a lack of communication and inconveniencing the students. I knew lots of people that had to MISS class to make it on chapel credits. Which is ridiculous.

    The problem I have is the HUGE fines. The problem I have is being told the same thing every chapel “How are you failing as Christians?” How about you up there admit to us how you are failing. Submit to us and be honest with us. All I want is an apology, all I want is “we failed to communicate effectively, we are struggling with funds and being stretched thin, we ask you be patient with us as we work to make chapel enriching and what it’s meant to be for our students.”

    Instead we’re getting blame. Getting the credits isn’t that difficult, but I have higher standards for this time of spiritual enrichment. Why are we not reaching out to those who need it, instead most are being pushed away. The blame does not go to one person, unfortunately since Arther is the face he gets the brunt of it all, comes with the job I guess.

    But really, have we thought about having a chapel that’s not about guilt tripping everyone in the room?

    That’s all I got to say about that.

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  10. The thing to remember when complaining about policies that are chosen not by Arthur Wilson, but administration is that you do not have to attend HU. Everyone who attends HU, came with the knowledge that it is a Christian University. Much like every other Christian University, there are policies, rules and authorities that are expected to be upheld (Community life agreement, etc.) If you don’t like it enough to make hateful comments on a post that might not include every portion of the truth then leave, you’ll probably end up with less debt at your local community college or state college. Freedom of speech isn’t dead, but ignorant speech is stupid.

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  11. Former Student

    As a former student, I see where certain students are coming from. Yes chapels are not what they used to be. Yes most of the time they were a great time for a nap, to study for an exam or to catch up on homework, or to play games on your phone, listen to music, or talk to your friends. Everyone did it. It drove me nuts that people were so disrespectful to the speaker or the band playing. But honestly, I miss chaple. As an adult with a full time job in the public and secular world, I miss having that time to be spiritual. It wasn’t every week but once in a while something really spoke to me and challenged me. I tried for 4 years to get a small group started with a professor or small group and was shut down every time. Now you guys have that opportunity, and still double the opportunities that are required for chapel. Go to IWU or Taylor where you can only miss a few each semester, yeah that’s right, they are all required. You chose to go to a Christian college, they tell you on the tour and before hand that chapel is required. Yes, I think the school could look for better ways to be consistent and offer better speakers or more relatable and modern topics. They just haven’t yet. Also, the chapel exemption thing is a joke. My junior year I had a teaching practicum every Tuesday and Thursday morning, for class credit, and had to miss 8 weeks or chapel to get my hours in at school. I inquired about reducing my chapel requirements and was denied for some stupid reason, yet I still made my 30 chapel requirement in the end. They need to be more open to reducing the requirement if they offer it. Nursing majors get theirs reduced, why not other majors as well. OK enough of a rant. Really, I do miss chapel, mostly P&W chapel. It would be nice to see the school address this issue with a student led panel of some sort. Best of luck HU!!

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  12. a still quiet voice

    Does anybody remember the scripture that says, “Be still and know that I am God”? Chapel is not that difficult of a thing to attend. It is only an hour or less of a designated day. The most time a student will spend in chapel all week may range between 2-3 hours a week compared to the 165 hours left in the week. How many students can afford to be still and know that Jesus is God for 2-3 hours a week? Rhetorical question of course because everyone can. And if you can’t go to chapel service then engage in small groups or Ekklessia. Anyone that is found complaining on this article is probably not seeking to know God nor support His work. Further more, is probably running behind on chapel credits. Yeah, you might hate me for speaking the truth but that’s o.k. I forgive you. The religious leaders hated Jesus for speaking the truth so I expect to suffer along side Him. I rejoice in all things even hardships. Maybe you haters should do the same and find your faith in the process.

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    • Caitlin (from the beginning of the comments thread)

      Dear still quiet voice,
      Who are you to judge us? Get down off your soap box and listen up. I am on point with my chapel credits, I’ve been a christian ever since I can remember, my dad is a pastor, I love learning more and studying, but on my own, and you know, studying something where I actually take away from the lesson.

      Did you even read the verses surrounding that refference you made? Here it is.

      “8 Come! Witness the exploits of the Lord, who brings devastation to the earth!
      9 He brings an end to wars throughout the earth; he shatters the bow and breaks the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
      10 He says, “Stop your striving and recognize that I am God! I will be exalted over the nations! I will be exalted over the earth!”
      11 The Lord who commands armies is on our side! The God of Jacob is our protector!”

      He is telling people that they don’t need to worry about forces opposing Him and his people because He will always protect them. This context has nothing to do with what you labeled it as.

      You mentioned the pharisees, may I direct you to Matthew 6:5

      “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward.”

      This verse is in refference to them specifically. Now how do you feel trying to stand along side the people who didn’t believe Jesus was the son of God until after they had killed Him? Next time, try to think before you write.

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  13. Frustrated Senior

    I agree with not getting rid of chapel all together, that’s not my problem. I have a problem with the fact that this school feels that it is necessary to constantly treat it’s students like they are bad Christians and slap on a huge fine with those who are apparently, not good enough Christians.
    We pay enough to go to this school, then we get charged for not being faithful to chapel.
    As a student who doesn’t have to go to chapel, I’ve been approached multiple times by people saying how I now have the opportunity to pick and choose what chapels I go too.
    While this is true, I have no desire whatsoever to attend chapel. And it’s DEFINITELY not because I have better things to do, like sleep or waste my time, or GOD FORBID do the homework I’ve been assigned.
    I chose not to go because every time I do, I feel my faith slowly slipping away from me, and I don’t feel God in my life. And this is from someone who has struggled in the past, so please explain to me how you expect to appeal to the non-Christians who attend this school.

    Yes, I chose this school, I understand that. I wanted to go to a Christian school because I fell in love with the environment and the people. Not the chapel.
    Being surrounded by Christians is what really shapes a person, not being preached at, like Lydia said.

    As Christians, we are suppose to be a representation of God’s love and share that with the world and the non-believers. THANK GOD we are surrounded by amazing professors, and even the people in the dorms, because those are the people that have impacted my faith journey the most and are the reason I have a relationship with God.

    I go to 509 as much as I can because that’s the only way I feel God’s presence, and feel my faith
    renewed-which is what we’re supposedly getting from chapel…sorry, I must’ve missed that memo.

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  14. YO, this is wild.

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  15. a still quiet voice

    Case in point. You ask, “Who am I to judge” yet your comments are judgmental. It is not enough to be hearers of His word you need to be a doer of His word. Be still and know that He is God and not you.

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    • You accuse me of such and yet there you go playing God again. I point out facts, not judgment. I accept my fate, do you understand yours? You act as God and keep spouting off the same verse. I don’t think you understand the context, once again I’ll point you to my previous comment. I have no need to repeat myself any more than to say, listen to what you’re saying and practice what you preach.

      Like

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