From the Little to the Large Chapel 13
Gradually the change came about so that after a few years the
chapel services were less reverent and worshipful. The members of
the faculty no longer sitting on the platform facing the students but
finding their places with them where they could on the benches, no
longer exercised much influence even when they were present, and
many of them left off attendance altogether. Complaint was
sometimes made at faculty meetings and sometimes by the Trustees,
but there was no improvement in attendance. Even before the loss of
the Chapel by fire the service had become largely administrative,
especially after the creation of the office of dean in 1912. The other
members of the faculty, having no part in the services, left them to the
president and the dean. There was no improvement after the services
were put in charge of the college chaplain in 1932; since that time it
often happens that neither president nor dean is present, and no
member of the faculty except the one asked by the chaplain to speak
at the service for that day. This neglect of the chapel services by the
faculty has not been without deleterious effect on student attendance;
why should they have greater interest than their teachers? Once, as if
in mockery, the students kept a record of the attendance of faculty
members and published it in the Wake Forest Student. This expedient
made the members of the faculty squirm but it did not quicken them
to reform. In fact, the character of the chapel services has been
changed. At times only the semblance of worship is maintained. A
fruitless effort has been made to increase interest by discussions of
scientific, literary, political, historical, educational and social concern,
to the minimizing of time for Scripture reading and prayer. Not
infrequently the chapel periods are given over to musical programs
and student meetings of various kinds. Thus the services have become
largely secularized, and have remained so, even since they were put in
charge of the college chaplain in September, 1932. The problem of
the chapel had been greatly aggravated by the fact that since the
burning of the Wingate Memorial Hall in 1934, the College has had
no auditorium large enough to accommodate more than 125 persons.
It is necessary to repeat that this change has been gradual.
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