By Rebekah Wahlberg
Mandatory chapel has been an integral part of California Baptist University since its founding as a college in 1950.
“It’s always been an expectation,” said Brett Vowell, director of chapel and of compassion ministries. “It’s part of CBU culture; it’s part of Christian university culture; it’s part of Baptist culture. It’s that tradition that’s ingrained in all our different veins of culture.”
Currently, full-time, under graduate students are required to attend at least 15 chapel sessions during the semester.
Justin Park, graduate assistant at the International Center and master’s of business administration student, worked as a chapel monitor and scanner for two years during his undergraduate studies at California Baptist University.
“It’s great that (chapel) is required,” he said. “Not having that would make it hard for a lot of students to grasp the actual meaning of being a Christian.”
Both Vowell and Park agreed that having mandatory chapel is essential to being a Christian university.
“You read and you hear of Christian universities that have foregone the mandatory chapel expectation, and you begin to recognize some looseness in morality,” Vowell said. “At that point, there’s something that changes within the institution.”
Park said it was easy for him to tell who was not paying attention, and as chapel monitor, it was his duty to ensure no one was being distracting.
“We tried to be lenient,” he said, “but if we see it’s a constant thing, we give a warning.”
Some students, such as Alicia Ott, junior psychology major, agree that chapel is beneficial, but it would be easier if fewer chapel sessions were required to pass.
Others disagree, saying chapel should not be mandatory.
“Spirituality and faith is personal,” said Jasyne A. Harvey, senior health education major. “It should not be required to demonstrate that.”