Saturday, September 14, 2019

1.5 Sunday at the Beginning

9. It was a Christian college, so there was a worship service for all the new students Sunday morning. That afternoon there would be a church fair where most of the churches in the area would set up tables on the quad if it didn't rain. A few even had special gatherings that evening for anyone who was interested in learning more.

The worship was a fun service. It was mostly contemporary Christian music, although they did start with the campus hymn--Great is Thy Faithfulness. The worship band was pretty good. Lucy noticed that there was a good mix of people in the band--guys, gals, white, black, Hispanic, Asian.

The Dean of the Chapel preached. She was good. Her text was Joshua 1:9--"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. The LORD your God is with you wherever you go." As far as Mac could tell, she was not reading from a paper. He hated it when the preacher read from a manuscript. Those sermons were usually more boring.

But Lucy could tell she wasn't simply making up what she was saying on the fly. She could tell she had worked on the sermon long enough that she could speak conversationally. She had notes but she never looked at them but was able to walk across the stage from one side to the other without missing a word.

10. Highlander University was broadly Methodist. With the Scottish connections, Presbyterian might have made more sense but its founder was a Scotsman whose parents had come under the spell of a horse riding Methodist named Francis Asbury in the early 1800s. Elijah Shepherd was in his fifties when he decided to pass on a portion of his wealth to found the college in 1867.

He had made his money on the canal, especially on logging. Although he had been an abolitionist in principle, he felt guilty for not doing more before the Civil War. He made sure that African-Americans were welcome at the college from the very beginning. In fact, two of the ministers in the very first class were former slaves who had escaped to the north through the Underground Railroad.

At the beginning, it had been Highlander Seminary, focused on training Methodist ministers. But the first president of the college convinced Elijah that the school needed to provide a broad education to both men and women. And women were a part of the school from its earliest days, some of whom had been present at Seneca Falls when the woman's movement began. Others had been there when Luther Lee preached the ordination service of the first woman to be ordained in the States.

So the church most associated with the church was Methodist, and more students and faculty attended there than any other church. Lucy and Mac had more or less assumed that was where they would go. There were regular chapels at eleven in the morning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But they were not meant to substitute for regular going to church.

1 comment: said...

This seems to be your college. You should have called it Schenck University.