Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Unforgettable Chapel

On a recent trip to North Georgia, we travelled through Young Harris, Ga.  It was not a destination, but it was back in 1966 when my first foray into the adult world took me to Young Harris College.  As one would expect, much has changed.  Back then there were two off campus places for entertainment.  One was the local Tastee Freeze where you could buy a hamburger and play pinball machines. The other "hot-spot" was the nearby motel restaurant where I learned about drinking coffee. There was little else to do expect for going to Cupid Falls or hiking the trail to Double Knobs.  Now, there are many places which vie for student dollars as the town looks typically urban rather than traditionally rural.
The college and campus have undergone many significant changes as well.  Physical expansion has brought new buildings and a campus that is sprawling over the landscape.  When I went as a student, it was a junior college, but recently it has become a four year school with a bright future.  One thing that remains as a constant on this United Methodist college is the Susan B. Harris Chapel.  It is the oldest building on campus, served as the community's Methodist Church for over half a century, and then became not the geographic center of the school, but its heart.  Every evening the bell in the chapel called us to Vespers.  In those days of trying to figure out what faith in Christ meant to me, those student led vesper moments became an important time.
Not every college campus has a chapel as its heart.  As I visited, I wondered if it is still true.  I wondered if the new athletic complex or something like it has taken its place.  I hope not.  The farther out we go from those formative college years, the more we realize the value of the spiritual influences in our lives.  I am grateful Young Harris College and Susan B. offered such to me in those years when that influence was so desperately needed.

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