mornings Hendricks Chapel bears all the customary hallmarks
of a place of religious worship. Prayer, song, fellowship,
and ritual are practiced at the weekly interdenominational
service in celebration of the ongoing tradition of Syracuse
Universitys interfaith community, much as they have
been since the chapel first opened in 1930. The surprising
thingthe inspiring thingis all the ways that spiritual
life is honored come Monday, when thoughts habitually turn
from the holy to the practical, and activities shift from
the reverence of the Sabbath to the business of the work week.
chapel, scheduling secretary Sue Martini takes time to tend
the flowering plants that line the stage area, checking to
see whether they need water. She thanks the custodian, who
moves within a circle of sunlight as he mops the chapels
floors, and apologizes to him for the mess. Its
been busy here, she says. A convocation on Friday
and two concerts over the weekend. He stops, smiles,
and replies, No problem, then goes back to swishing
his mop back and forth. Downstairs, the lively chatter of
students mingles with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee at
Peoples Place, the chapels student-operated cafe.
Amid the Monday morning activity in the Office of the Dean,
Ginny Yerdon, the chapels events coordinator and administrative
specialist, greets an early visitor and comments on the pleasant
weather. She pauses for a moment as the deans grandfather
clock begins to chime the hour. And with that tranquil, dusky
toll, another ordinary day is under way at the Universitys
center for religious lifeanother ordinary, yet sacred,
Hendricks Chapel is a haven for the SU community during
personal tragedies and crises.
is to be a welcome and caring presence on campus that
is open to all people.
Reverend Thomas V. Wolfe G02
commitment is to be a welcome and caring presence on campus
that is open to all people, says the Reverend Thomas
V. Wolfe G02, dean of Hendricks Chapel. That commitment
is played out in every aspect of the chapels work, from
the amiable detail of ensuring all telephone calls are answered
to such a grave matter as keeping the chapel doors open around
the clock during the traumatic days following September 11,
2001. It is a matter of hospitality, which has a deep
religious context, Wolfe says. In most religions
there is a hospitality code that says, You receive the
stranger no matter what, and you offer what is needed.
Hendricks Chapel meets those needs through a diverse range
of spiritual, cultural, and educational programs and services,
including memorial services, lectures, musical performances
(see related story, page 23), Remembrance Scholar ceremonies,
and one of the nations largest annual commemorations
of Martin Luther King Jr. I believe you define yourself
by what you have to give, Wolfe says. Thats
the spirit with which our staff comes here, and thats
the spirit with which we try to meet each day.
02 first experienced that spirit of hospitality as a
member of the Hendricks Chapel Choir when he was a freshman
in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. While at SU,
he worked as a student proctor in the deans office,
participated in numerous projects through Students Offering
Service, and helped organize and coordinate numerous chapel
weddings. Tom Wolfe always says the proctor job is one
of the most important jobs at the chapel because we are the
first to answer calls or greet visitors, Hiler says.
Its important for anyone, whether they are coming
in to research an academic project or seeking counseling from
one of the chaplains, to be welcomed with the warmth that
the chapel embodies.
as a Remembrance Scholar in his senior year, Hiler also participated
in the Interfaith Middle East Experience. This peacemaking
initiative, established to encourage religious tolerance in
the face of world turmoil, brings together Christian, Jewish,
and Muslim students for a series of seminars and discussions
culminating in a trip abroad to study the history of the three
faiths in another country. Hendricks is much more than
just a place to worship, Hiler says. It is a true
interfaith community that accepts people and celebrates their
differences. It is a community of fellowship, debate, and
learning; a place to go for support, education, and discussion.
BCCE performs at Hendricks Chapel.
Through concerts, dramatic performances,
art exhibitions, and more, Hendricks Chapel is committed
to bringing the arts to the University and the Syracuse
Choral Ensemble (BCCE)
SUs distinguished gospel choir, which celebrated its
25th anniversary in 2002, consists of 50 members, including
students, faculty, and community residents. Shayla Adams
directs the group, which performs regularly and has a recording,
BCCE: Live (Syracuse University Recordings).
Hendricks Chapel Choir
Under the direction of G. Burton Harbison, the chapel choir
has 48 student members and sings at the interdenominational
service each Sunday. Other performances include an annual
holiday concert, a Parents Weekend performance, and a spring
Hendricks Chapel Handbell Ringers
The handbell choirs membership consists of SU students
and staff members. Performances are held about once a month
at the interdenominational service, with occasional appearances
in the Syracuse community. Directed by Jessica Bowerman,
the group holds two major concerts a year.
Named for Grammy Award-winning folk singer Elizabeth Libba
Cotten, this coffeehouse serves as an outlet for folk music,
poetry, and storytelling, and hosts performances in the
Noble Room on the first Saturday of the month.
Malmgren Concert Series
Created by a 1991 gift from Esther Malmgren 42, this
series consists of three or four concerts a year, many of
which include the organ, her favorite instrument. The 2002-03
season featured the Grammy Award-winning choral ensemble
Chanticleer, SU organist Christopher Marks, and other renowned
Members of Chanticleer rehearse in Hendricks Chapel before
February marked the fifth annual Sojourner Storytelling
Conference, which drew an audience of more than 200, including
A Warm Welcome
student works on a writing
exercise with a young refugee.
Adohl, a 6-year-old Sudanese girl, munches on Cheetos and
listens intently to an SU student tutor reading her a story
while they sit snuggled in a chair in the Noble Room at
Hendricks Chapel. My favorite things to do here are
reading and coloring, Adohl says with a smile. She
is one of some two dozen refugee children between the ages
of 5 and 15 who attend the International Young Scholars
Program, one of many projects created and run by Hendricks
Chapels Students Offering Service (SOS). The program
started about eight years ago in response to an influx of
Haitian refugees to the Syracuse area and evolved into an
after-school program for refugee children from Sudan, Congo,
Tanzania, and Cuba. The weekly enrichment program is free
to participants, including transportation to campus provided
by volunteers, says Rachael Gazdick 93, assistant
director of SOS and a graduate student in the Maxwell School.
A University-community relationship is very important,
Gazdick says. We have a lot of great resources that
can enhance and enrich these kids lives.
two-hour program includes an hour for children to do homework
alongside student mentors and an hour for recreational activities.
One week the chemistry honors program presented a magic
show, using chemistry as the template. On another occasion,
the children and tutors ventured over to UUTV, SUs
student-operated television station, to learn about producing
a television show and to create their own program. Other
activities have included making ceramic fish, seeing a puppet
show and creating puppets, learning about photography, and
being taught Japanese and French by SU faculty. We
look at the University as an academic playground for these
children, says Gazdick.
program has approximately 40 student volunteers who work
with the children weekly, building meaningful relationships
along the way. We get to set an example and show these
kids what they can grow up to be, says Noah Boro 03,
an engineering and computer science student who has tutored
for two years. Its also a release for me because
I get to be a kid again. Its good for the soul.
takes pride in the dedication of the volunteers and participants
as well as the programs success. Most importantly,
we want to provide a loving, nurturing environment,
Gazdick says. Thats the absolute heart of this
Heart of the Campus
As an interfaith community that serves as host to 8 chaplaincies
and 20 other religious groups, the chapel encourages people of all
faiths to worship and practice according to their traditions, while
also upholding an attitude of reverence for the diverse beliefs
of others. When I interview new chaplain candidates, I ask,
Can you stand next to a person with a radically different
faith tradition than yours, and can you stand with that person with
honest and real respect? Wolfe says. But I also
tell them, I will advocate for you to have full expression
of your faith tradition. You have to be able to say what you feel,
believe what you believe, and express that in ritual, in practice,
and in day-to-day accomplishments. And I will support you completely
in your right to do that. Because it is my firm belief that if people
feel secure and know where their advocacy is, then all the good
boundaries have been established; all of the good relationships
can then be made. People can be who they are and feel supported.
In her role
as Episcopal chaplain, the Reverend Christine J. Day sees herself
as a guest of the University whose mission is to provide chaplain
care for her own denomination and the SU community-at-large as needed.
Within a parish, I would be restricted to responding to those
of my denomination, she says. Here, especially in times
of crisis, chaplains respond to the whole community. Day believes
Hendricks offers something special to the University community.
Mostly, what we do here is listen, she says. Our
doors are open to anybodyas a chapel, and as individual chaplains
and staff members. Its wonderful to witness students as they
make academic leaps and realize that the same growth occurs in their
03, a College of Arts and Sciences philosophy major with a
minor in psychology, considers the spiritual support she finds at
Hendricks Chapel a key part of her SU experience. It definitely
helps to come here when Im feeling stressed out, she
says. Ill just sit in the chapel a while or hang out
and talk in the chaplains office and automatically feel better.
A peer minister with the Lutheran Campus Ministry during her sophomore
year, Weber now volunteers each week at the House of Prayer, an
after-school program at a local church. She also joins SU students
from other campus ministries in the Hendricks Chapel Cup, a yearlong
tournament that brings together students of different faiths for
such team sports as softball, football, and soccer. Its
a lot of fun, and it fits in with everything Hendricks is about,
Weber says. Were involved with people of other religions
in a way that lets us share who we are and find out who they are.
Universityand on college campuses across the countrythe
spiritual needs and practices of students are changing. There was
a time in the nations history, especially after World War
II, when people saw going to church as their civic responsibility.
Thats how they perceived it, Wolfe says. Worship
service was synonymous with being responsible in the world.
But a cultural shift has resulted in a generation of students that
doesnt necessarily define itself as religious. When
students say that, they mean, Im not traditional, I
dont consider myself a member of a particular body, and I
dont intend to worship or adhere to a particular liturgy or
religious practice, Wolfe says. And yet they are
in touch with the fact that there is more to them than a mind and
a body. There is this other thing called a spirit. But their spirituality
is far less defined in traditional religious terms.
Going to church can be hard for students, she says.
Mom and Dad arent here to make you attend worship services.
Now its a personal decisiona commitment you have to
make independently. Because its important to me and gives
me a lot, I share that in my conversations with other students.
are exceptions, the tendency now is for students to express and
practice their spirituality through service rather than traditional
worship. People of earlier generations sometimes get concerned
that places of worship arent filling like they used to,
Wolfe says. But I have hope. As the dean of a university chapel,
I have a responsibility to understand students and to challenge
and interpret what they are saying. And what I hear them saying
is they are no less religious than theyve ever been. Its
just that the form has changed. So students will volunteer to build
a house, clean up a park, or mentor kids, and thats much more
yoked to their notion of spirituality than attending a service on
academic year, students are invited to volunteer in various projects
sponsored by Students Offering Service (SOS), including the International
Young Scholars Program (see related story, page 25), Hendricks Chapel
Quiltmakers, Habitat for Humanity, CROP Walk for Hunger, and the
Share the Warmth Blanket Drive. There are many ways to connect
here, says Francis McMillan Parks, director of SOS and African
American Programs. Because our commitment is to the development
of the citizen scholar, everything we do is about locating the
self in the cause of others. We see ourselves not as doing
charitable work, but as being in partnership with the community.
In that spirit, we seek opportunities to be good neighbors and to
participate in the reciprocity of learning that becomes possible
when we step into others lives.
We see ourselves
not as doing charitable
work, but as being in partnership with the community."
As a historian
and sociologist, Parks believes service must be grounded in an appreciation
for the history of the worlds ongoing struggle for peace and
justice. For example, when students volunteer with the International
Young Scholars Program, Parks first teaches them about Ellis Island
and the history of immigration in the United States. Francis
is always pointing us to the historic relevance of what were
doing, which makes us say, Wow, this is more than just a good
thing to do, Wolfe says. Its empowering
to participate in a historical movement.
Former SOS participant
Hiler, who is working toward a master of fine arts degree at the
New York Academy of Art in New York City, credits Parks with motivating
him to pursue a painting career. Although I was an illustration
major, she talked me into painting a series of portraits,
he says. Titled Spirit of Lantern, the portraits are displayed annually
to honor otherwise unheralded community members who have dedicated
their lives to service. Hiler found the experience of creating the
portraits challenging and exciting. Its interesting
how life works out, he says. Francis was doing what
shes so good atmaking connections that match peoples
gifts with methods for solving the social injustices of the world.
In doing that, she helped me more clearly define my career path.
Port in the Storm
its history, Hendricks Chapel has served as a haven in times of
crisis. Whether the University community experiences a personal
tragedy, such as the death of a student, or is struggling to cope
with the life-altering ramifications of the terrorist bombing of
Pan Am Flight 103 or the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it turns to Hendricks
Chapel for support and guidance. When youre being pounded
by a storm, you reach out to hold onto something solid, says
At SU, that something is our chapel. The chaplains and staff
convey a sense of comfort, caring, and strength that is essential
in times of trouble. Morrow is part of a Syracuse University
crisis management team that includes student affairs director Mary
Jo Custer, undergraduate studies administrative assistant Judith
ORourke 75, and Division of International Programs Abroad
(DIPA) deputy director Jon Booth.
Wolfe as an invaluable resource for DIPA, supporting the Universitys
international programs in such ways as addressing a recent meeting
of European center directors and chairing the University committee
on planning International Week activities. We appreciate the
chapels commitment to internationalism, which is a signature
experience in the Universitys Academic Plan, Booth
As a representative
of the University, Wolfe has also traveled to Florence and London
to provide spiritual support for the families and friends of two
students who died while overseas. Tom is very caring and understanding
when talking to students and their families, here or abroad,
says Custer, who is team-teaching a crisis management course with
Wolfe this semester. Hes a good listener, a strong role
model, and a leader who brings together the University community
to grieve, to celebrate, and to remember.
Wolfe sees the
role of stepping in during a crisis as one of the most significant
services the chapel providesa constructive effort to deal
responsibly with personal and cultural pain, as well as issues of
social justice and reconciliation. In moments of conflict
or great loss, we open the doors of the chapel, light a candle at
the head of the aisle, and invite people in, he says. Everyone
can feel free in this space to express feelings of sorrow, grief,
or even anger. Here, we stand next to those who are in pain, whether
or not we agree with them, andwith great respecthelp
them express it in a constructive way. That is the power of this
place, and I believe in it in my soul.