The heartbeat of CU: 70 years of daily chapel


CEDARVILLE — Chapel is the heartbeat of Cedarville University. The daily program is what unites the campus community, including faculty, staff and students, around common themes of biblical truth and joyful worship.

With the start of the 2023-24 academic year on Aug. 21, Cedarville marked its 70th year of having daily chapel programs. During the 70 years, chapel was held in various locations across campus including Alford Auditorium, Milner and the Apple Technology Resource Center before moving in 1996 to the Dixon Ministry Center’s James T. Jeremiah Chapel. The size of the venue has increased from 2,000 to nearly 4,000.

The 50-minute chapel program featured worship music led by student musicians and biblical teaching from scholars across the country, including Dr. David Jeremiah, pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the teaching leader for Turning Point ministry in San Diego, California; Dr. Alistair Begg, senior pastor of Cleveland’s Parkside Church, and the voice of Truth For Life Christian radio preaching and teaching ministry. Other notable speakers include Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Shai Linne, Christian recording artist and church planter; Clyde Christensen, quarterbacks coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Dannah Gresh, founder of Pure Freedom; along with Cedarville faculty members.

“Daily chapel sets Cedarville apart as a school committed to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ,” said Thomas White, university president. “It is the heartbeat of campus because Jesus is the center, and He truly is our life.”

Although the chapel program was a part of Cedarville’s founding, it did not become part of the daily schedule until 1953 when Cedarville College merged with the Baptist Bible Institute of Cleveland.

From its founding, Cedarville has focused on educating students from a biblical perspective, and teaching Scripture each morning in chapel at 10 a.m. only deepened students’ opportunities for growth. Even during COVID, Cedarville offered chapel programs, moving from online to outdoor services.

James T. Jeremiah, president from 1954-1978, stated, “We must never lose the preaching in chapel as that has something to say about Christian living, salvation. Never, and if we do, we have lost the whole thing.” Jeremiah set the precedent that has made chapel what it is today.

During its 70 years, the chapel program has evolved from a-Capella hymns to full worship bands. Regardless of style, the teaching from the Word of God has remained the same.

“Cedarville wouldn’t be what it is today without daily chapel,” said White. “We are blessed to hear the Word preached every weekday at 10 a.m. and all worship the Lord together.”

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