Chowan University Commemorates the Opening of the Chowan Chapel: A Service of Thanksgiving
In a poignant ceremony that echoed with faith, unity, and gratitude, Chowan University celebrated the inauguration of the Chowan Chapel on Thursday, September 28, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. This momentous event, known as the “Chowan Chapel: Service of Thanksgiving,” marked a significant milestone in the institution’s history.
The Chowan Chapel, situated within the serene confines of Chowan University’s campus, is far more than a brick-and-mortar structure; it symbolizes a sacred space where a community of believers, united by a shared purpose, can congregate. With its doors now open to all, the Chowan Chapel embarks on a noble mission to serve as a cornerstone in the realms of worship, edification, and evangelism.
In alignment with Christ’s message of love and service, the Chowan Chapel aspires to make a meaningful impact in the world while spreading the message of Christ’s love. It serves as the centerpiece of the university’s faith-based education, reinforcing the institution’s unwavering commitment to being a Christ-centered institution of higher learning.
The opening ceremony featured a rich program, including Dejuan Lee’s soul-stirring piano performance as part of the gathering music. Charles E. Taylor, Jr., President of Chowan University, extended a warm welcome and shared the purpose behind the gathering.
Kemper W. Baker, Chair of the Board of Trustees, acknowledged the generosity that made the construction of the Chowan Chapel possible. The program continued with heartfelt invocations and readings, including those by Bucky Glover, Duke Askew, Linda B. Weaver, Rev. Mari E. Wiles, Jane Newsome, Rev. Pam Taylor, Brayden Conboy, Anthony M. Rawlings, Sr., and Charles Pond.
Trustee and alumnus Bucky Glover ‘74 delivered an extremely personal invocation that offered extended gratitude to donors, architects, and the extended Chowan family.
A special musical anthem, “I Am The Way,” was prepared and performed especially for this service and was presented by The Chowan Choir, captivating all in attendance. The sermon, a powerful and inspirational message focusing on ‘Faith in your Future,’ was delivered by alumnus and trustee Anthony Rawlings, Sr ‘11.
The event concluded with a heartfelt benediction by Charles B. Pond, III, a devoted trustee of Chowan University. Following the service, a delightful dinner on the grounds was held, reminiscent of the homecoming Baptist dinners often cherished at regional congregations.
With the Chowan Chapel now open and serving as a spiritual and communal hub for all, it stands as a testament to Chowan University’s dedication to nurturing the spiritual and intellectual growth of its students and the broader community.
When it came to designing the Chowan Chapel, the university sought to create a structure that seamlessly blended with the existing architectural landscape while paying homage to the local and regional church buildings. Toni Finch, Principal of Little BIRD Architecture, PLLC, was entrusted with this formidable task.
Finch’s vision was clear: to design a chapel that would not only stand as a symbol of faith but also evoke a sense of nostalgia reminiscent of the region’s historic church buildings. She carefully studied the local architectural vernacular, considering the shapes, materials, and aesthetics that define the area’s beloved churches.
The result is a chapel that exudes charm and timelessness. With its graceful lines, a soaring steeple, and a warm color palette, the Chowan Chapel harmoniously fits within the campus’s architectural context while carrying the spirit of traditional North Carolinian churches.
Turning architectural blueprints into a tangible structure requires the skill and dedication of seasoned professionals. Monteith Construction, headquartered in Wilmington, NC, proved to be the perfect choice to bring Finch’s design to life.
As the general contractor for the Chowan Chapel, Monteith Construction displayed exceptional craftsmanship, attention to detail, and a deep appreciation for the project’s significance. They skillfully executed the construction, ensuring that every element of the chapel was meticulously crafted to reflect the architect’s vision and the university’s values.
The result is not merely a building but a spiritual sanctuary that captures the essence of tradition and faith.
The Chowan Chapel is more than just a building; it is a place where students can think, engage, and trust. Its design and construction represent a harmonious blend of history and modernity, tradition and innovation.
As students, faculty, alumni, and visitors enter the Chowan Chapel’s doors, they are greeted by an atmosphere of serenity and reflection. The soaring steeple serves as a beacon, guiding all towards a space where worship, edification, and evangelism are central.
The completion of the Chowan Chapel at Chowan University marks a significant milestone in the 175 years of the institution’s history. As it stands proudly on the campus, the Chowan Chapel beckons all to come together, to worship, and to reflect. It is a living testament to the university’s values, and it will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the spiritual and intellectual growth of students for generations to come.