Buies Creek, N.C.-Dean Michael Cogdill welcomed students, guests and alumni to the first Campbell University Divinity School worship service held in the Anna Gardner and Robert B. Butler Chapel at Campbell University on Tuesday, August 25.
Standing at the simple oak pulpit framed by a soaring stained glass window, Cogdill was flanked by choirs from Snyder Memorial Baptist Church and the Campbell Divinity School. A brass ensemble from Snyder accompanied the music for the service led by Dr. Larry Dickens, adjunct professor and Minister of Music at Snyder Memorial.
"This chapel is a dream come true for our Campbell University family," Cogdill told a congregation of over 300 people. "I hope that you will enjoy the joyfulness and the beauty of this wonderful chapel for years to come."
The service also marked the beginning of a life of Christian service for the 50 members of the 14th class to enter the Campbell Divinity School.
Sharlene Provilus, a first-year, Master of Divinity student from New York, N.Y., was excited to be in the chapel for the first time.
"I'm so glad we have such a beautiful place to come as a community and worship," she said. "As a first-year student, I'm thrilled to be a member of the chapel's inaugural class."
Cogdill called on the first-year students to become "ministers of vision."
"It's time to become good ministers of Jesus Christ, to give your energy to fulfill your calling because we do not live in ordinary times, but times of cultural shifts. How do you do church today? How do you design worship? How do you reach people who do not know God? These are the challenges ministers face today."
The Anna Gardner and Robert B. Butler Chapel is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for the late Anna Gardner Butler. A member of Campbell's Class of 1940, she longed for a place to worship with her friends and colleagues on campus. Plans for the chapel, which anchors a corner of Campbell's Academic Circle adjacent to the Taylor Hall of Religion, were announced in 2007. The $8.5 million structure includes seating for approximately 400 people, a sanctuary with exposed beam construction and natural wood, chancel area with space for a 30-person choir, piano, and a pipe organ console with pipes extending the full height of the sanctuary. The 12,000 square-foot structure also contains the admissions offices for the Divinity School and a great gathering hall. A separate bell tower with a prayer room is located next to the chapel. The chapel is intended to be a setting for worship, meditation, study and special events.
"Out of her dream and the generosity of Mrs. Butler and her husband was begun this marvelous challenge that is being realized today," said Dr. Jerry M. Wallace, president of Campbell University. "Your presence is so symbolic of what this place is all about."
The Anna Gardner and Robert B. Butler Chapel will be dedicated in October.
Photo Copy: Dr. Michael Cogdill, dean of the Campbell Divinity School, delivers the sermon at Campbell University's Anna Gardner and Robert B. Butler Chapel. (Photo by Shannon Ryals)