News • September 07, 2022

In-person chapel returns to CBU campus

In-person chapel returns to CBU campus

Riverside, Calif. (Sept. 7, 2022) – Students streamed into the Events Center for chapel at California Baptist University on Sept. 6. Not only was it the first chapel of the school year, but it was also the first in-person chapel since March 2020 when the pandemic shut everything down. During the past two years chapel was held online.

Dr. John Montgomery, associate vice president of Student Services, said he was thankful the students could gather again.

“What we already knew but has been reinforced by our shared experience over the last couple of years is that worshiping together is so much more vibrant and life-giving when we are physically together,” Montgomery said. “The pandemic has been tragic, but it has taught us that the virtual cannot replace the benefit of singing praises together, hearing from God’s word together and responding to God together.”

In-person chapel returns to CBU campusMost CBU students attended in-person for the first time. The only students who have experienced in-person chapel are seniors who were freshmen when the pandemic was declared in March 2020.

Daniel Hubert, a senior in the mathematics and preliminary single subject credential programs, was looking forward to attending chapel again.

“Chapel is important to CBU culture because it brings community. Chapel online was individualistic. I don't know of anyone that watched chapel together,” Hubert said. “In person, we go together, sit with our friends and share experiences. It also is the starting point for great conversations.”

For Damara Wilson, an applied theology senior, chapel is a helpful launch pad for those interested in knowing more about Jesus and Christianity.

“I'm looking forward to the consistency of being reminded of God's word throughout the school week. Chapel can be a restful place on campus in the midst of all the busyness that comes with a semester,” Wilson said. “Chapel is important for the community at CBU because we are a Great Commission school, and it helps students to know what that actually means for us here in Riverside.”

Dr. Rick Warren, a CBU alumnus (’77) and founding pastor of Saddleback Church, gave the message for the first chapel. The students have three options, Warren told them. They can waste their life, spend their life or invest their life. There are “thousands of ways” to waste a life. They can spend their life on a career, on money or on being popular.

“The greatest use of your life is to invest it in something that will outlast it. You were made to make a difference with your life. You were made to live for something greater than yourself,” Warren said.

Warren encouraged the students to find their purpose and do that.

“College is not just for knowledge. College is to discover your purpose and then give the rest of your life, however long it is, to fulfilling God's purpose in your generation,” Warren said. “There's no greater pleasure in life. There's no greater joy in life than to know you are being used by the hand of God for a purpose greater than yourself.”

Chapels are held Tuesdays throughout the semester. Students are required to go to 15 sessions and faculty and staff are also invited to attend.

“Chapel is really the only time when the entire campus community is invited to come together for worship and spiritual encouragement,” Montgomery said. “Once a week, we have the unique opportunity to be reminded of the greatness of our God, the power of the gospel, who we are in Christ and what it means to be a university committed to the Great Commission.”

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