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Regent Chapel Opens with Campus-Wide Celebration

By Amanda Morad | March 26, 2013

For more than a year, the center of Regent University's campus has been buzzing with activity and construction as the Regent Chapel and Divinity Building rose before the community's eyes.

Marked by a three-night celebration and a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, March 22, that area now buzzes with activity of a different kind. The inaugural service in the new chapel was held Thursday, March 21, with special guest speaker and international evangelist, Reinhard Bonnke. But before Bonnke took the stage, university leadership acknowledged the milestone event.

"A chapel like this has always symbolized a place where anybody could come, whatever their background," said Regent president, Dr. Carlos Campo. "Whatever your tribe or your tongue, you were welcome there. It's my prayer that this chapel will always be that as well—a welcoming place where anyone from any background can come, knowing that the person associated with the cross at the top of the spire said these words, 'Let all who are burdened and who labor come to Me and find rest, because My yoke is easy and My burden is light.'"

Campo explained that a group of students, faculty and staff had been praying during construction. "Before anyone walked into this building, we wanted the Word of God spoken aloud in this place," he said. "We began an initiative called The Spoken Word where we began in Genesis chapter one and read through the entire Bible."

Closing out that initiative, Campo invited College of Arts & Sciences student and president of the Regent Undergraduate Council, Chelsea Adams, to read the final verses from the book of Revelation to complete the reading of the Holy Bible.

"Lord, we pray that this place would be a place of salvation and healing and blessing," Regent's founder and chancellor, Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson prayed in dedication. "And may it radiate throughout this campus the glory of God Almighty."

Bonnke expressed his vision for the chapel's future as a "pediatric ward" built to train Christian leaders to enter lifelong ministry: "My wish for this new, beautiful building and for Regent University is that this school and this facility become something like a womb to birth Holy Spirit evangelists."

Vice president of Advancement Ann Leblanc also addressed the students, staff, and faculty present for the dedication service Thursday night. "For the students tonight, the message is clear: Don't back down from your calling. Don't let somebody talk you out of what God is calling you to do. Let the Holy Spirit tell you where to go and then go be deployed to do it," she said. "Through the generations, this building will stand and no one will doubt what the university was built to do and what God has called us to do."

Friday's ribbon-cutting ceremony featured several special guests, including Congressman J. Randy Forbes from the 4th District of Virginia, former Regent trustee Joe Gregory, Bonnke, Chesapeake Mayor Alan Krasnoff, and Calvary Revival Church founder Bishop Courtney McBath '98 (Divinity).

That evening, Regent's International Center for Worship director, David M. Edwards, led a full house in worship with a special community choir before Pastor Jim Cymbala of The Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, New York, took the stage.

"What is the work of the Lord?" Cymbala asked. "Evangelizing, discipling, spreading the Good News—that's the work Jesus gave us to do."

Encouraging the audience to pursue the work of the Lord, Cymbala explained that every major move of God in the Bible was preceded by a word spoken directly to the individual called to fulfill His will. "God speaks about these things so nobody can say it's a coincidence," he said. "The Holy Spirit makes the promises of God alive in us so that He gets all the glory. He deserves it all."

Continuing the theme of faithfulness on Saturday evening, Teen Mania founder Ron Luce shared his testimony, first of coming to Christ, and then of facing tragedy when his daughter Hannah was badly injured in a small aircraft crash last May, but was the only survivor.

"I wasn't just angry about Hannah, but broken-hearted that four people died," he recalled. "How do you trust in the face of tragedy? How do you endure?...We don't understand everything now, but when challenges to your faith, marriage, and relationships arise, will you be ready to endure?

"Our whole [Christian] heritage is filled with people who knew how to endure," Luce said. Using the analogy of marathon training, he encouraged attendees to train their faith for endurance instead of speed. "Prepare for your spiritual race," he said. "Set yourself up for success in different seasons of life."

Also featured Saturday evening was Bethel music artist William Matthews, who led worship to open the service. Worship has already been established as a key component of Regent Chapel activities as Campus Ministries makes their home in the new Divinity Building connected to the chapel.

A week before the official opening, United Pursuit Band came to campus and held a worship night with Campus Ministries aimed at preparing students for the spiritual reawakening expected as a result of the chapel opening and the activities to be held there.

"It is my intent that this place will become a cradle so that many people will come to faith," said Dr. Richard Kidd, director of Campus Ministries, at Thursday's dedication. "[Our desire is] that each student would become a flame. It is my intent to light that flame here and to stoke the fires of revival and renewal—and that this would always be a place where those fires are hot."

Learn more about the new Regent University Chapel and Divinity Building.


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E-mail: mhughes@regent.edu



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