The twenty required chapel attendances per semester is a constantly required debate among the ENC community. Although chapel attendance has been mandated as a way to improve a vital part of the campus community, professors are not required to attend chapel.
In the ENC Employee handbook, chapel attendance is primarily targeted toward students and campus visitors. The handbook also states that employees are not required to attend chapel, attendance is on a voluntary basis when staff chapels are held.
I find this a bit unsettling, considering that professors stress the importance of spiritual life; I can recall most professors having times of prayer at the beginning of class and some even setting aside time for devotions. The example set in classrooms on spiritual importance is not enough if we want to be a community that reflects Christ as a whole.
How can we as students be expected to be motivated to attend chapel if our professors are not also held responsible for chapel attendance?
According to the ENC website on chapel requirements, chapel is regarded as any other class, therefore work, classwork and obligations should be scheduled around chapel hours. As for professors, they are merely encouraged to attend chapel if possible. If students and student leaders are required, then professors should also be required, considering the major role they play on campus.
If students do not meet the required twenty chapels, they‘re charged a $15 fee for every chapel that missed the requirement; this is regardless of class load, work load, or time conflicts. Balancing work, school, and a social life is challenging, and professors are not the only ones who have to manage their time. It appears that professors are given a lot of leeway while students get the tight reins.
Dan Boone, President of Trevecca Nazarene University, recently wrote about the dilemma he faces as a college president when students ask why all professors don’t attend chapel. His students ask, “If we are a Christian community, and we believe that worship is formative, and we believe that the need for worship does not end when you get a degree, why don’t professors attend chapel?”
I believe we at ENC should be asking the same question and raising the same issue. Everyone should be held to the same standards when it comes to chapel attendance, and the same amount of responsibility should be shared by all parties, not just students.