KNOXVILLE — Chapel is required for all Johnson students, both traditional and non-traditional.
Chapel requirements are broken down based on full-time or part-time status.
If you are a full time student you are required to go to three chapels a week, whether you are a traditional or non-traditional student. You can either attend or attain credit for these three chapels, through chapel make-ups.
Online students that are still in an on-ground program have the same chapel requirements as traditional students. They make up every chapel online since they can not attend on-ground.
You can miss up to three chapels and still have an A. You can miss up to six and still have a B. Any more than six misses and you fail. That is the same for both students that are attending chapel and making up chapel.
“Where there is some distinction, is what sorts of absences are allowed to be made up,” Dean of the Chapel, Bill Wolf, said.
There are five options for missing a chapel that are excused, a work schedule conflict and illness are two.
For commuting students, if they do not have a reason to be on campus directly before or after chapel, can make up the chapel without an ordinary excuse or conflict. Therefore they are not required to come to campus early or stay late just for chapel.
Chapel make-ups are posted on Sakai in the Chapel tab. Chapel makeups are only available online for seven days after the original chapel occurred.
“The reality is, no chapel absence is excused,” Wolf said.
Every absence is an absence, whether that be a personal absence or an administrative absence, which means the University/administration caused the absence.
Administrative absences include; basketball trip, tour choir trips, baseball trips, conferences for classes, etc.
These kinds of absences do not have to be made up.
“The reality is, the only kind of absence that will be excused or doesn’t count against you is one the school has caused,” Wolf said.
An example of an administrative absence that does not need to be made up is if the student misses due to work study.
If a student works during chapel for one or all three of the required meeting days, no make-up is required.
However, the administration that caused the absence must notify Wolf before the absence will be excused.
Presently the JU Tennessee campus and the JU Florida campus have different chapel requirements.
When JUFL was first adopted by Johnson, their chapel met once a week at 11 a.m. on Tuesday’s. They also had D-Groups that were not connected to chapel.
To bring the JUFL and JUTN campuses into alignment, JUFL’s chapel was moved to 9 a.m. and the D-Groups were attached to chapel requirements to resemble JUTN Wednesday chapel groups.
For the Thursday chapel requirement, JUFL meets five or six times each semester. This is a step towards them having chapel every week on Thursday, to match the JUTN campus.
As of right now, JUFL and JUTN chapel requirements are not the same.
“We are moving toward the requirements being aligned perfectly,” Wolf said.
Wolf said that the reason Johnson has such a focus on chapel is embedded in the mission statement of the University which ends in “To extend the Kingdom to all nations.”
“Chapel is a time in which we come together as individuals who are hopefully living our lives as living sacrifices through pleasing acts of worship,” Wolf said.
Wolf compared chapel to breathing in the air of the Kingdom.
“This Kingdom we want to extend is not just a theory, it is not just an idea, it is a living breathing reality that we experience in Christ,” Wolf said. “In order to extend that Kingdom we need to breath in the air of that Kingdom, and chapel is the time that we put away our books, put away our laptops, put away our homework, put away disagreements we might have with our roommate, we put that stuff aside and just focus on Jesus.”
Wolf said another important aspect to having chapel is in the identity of JU as a whole.
“It is important to our identity. We are Christians, and as Christians we worship God. That is our identity and it is our identity as a University,” Wolf said.
Wolf said that this is most clearly seen in Johnson’s Homecoming celebrations.
Wolf said that where other schools have special sporting events, Johnson worships. Gathering together for sessions of study, teachings, and praying.
“When we contemplate Christ, the Spirit transforms us into the likeness of Christ, so we come together to contemplate, focus on Jesus and believe in his Spirit to transform us into the likeness of Jesus,” Wolf said. “That is part of how we extend our mission, we gather together to worship.”