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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo

Students honor Prayer Chapel

Students organize clean up day for building

The Memorial Prayer Chapel’s carpet stains, odor and scattered crumbled paper testify to its years of use which spurred the cleaning initiative, sophomore Jessica Vieth said. 

Students had an opportunity to clean the prayer chapel on Saturday with the support of Rev. Dyson, vice president for spiritual life & intercultural leadership and campus pastor. The clean-up was led by Veith sophomores Peyton Fiegel, Adeline Heuser and Evan Smith. 

Dyson believed the significance of cleaning the prayer chapel is because worship is important and so is caring for each other. 

“And in those worship spaces, we care for each other,” he said. “Every year, we use space a lot. And the memorial prayer chapel is a heavy-use space. So people are in there all the time, day and night.”

With all of the use of the prayer chapel, it’s easy for something to get either misplaced, dirty, out of line, not taken care of or just get missed, Dyson said. 

Over a month ago, Veith and Fiegel felt called to visit the Memorial Prayer Chapel after the chapel guest speaker shared the story of five members of the Taylor community who died on April 26, 2006. This tragedy inspired the construction of the prayer chapel.  

For Veith and Fiegel, it was their first time hearing about the car accident and the memorials at the chapel. 

“About a month ago, Jessica and I felt a calling to go to the prayer chapel and we just felt like the Lord was calling us into that space and he wanted something more for that and for the Taylor student body,” Fiegel said.

At first, Veith and Fiegel bought a few necessities from the Dollar General for the prayer chapel. However, the invitation to take care of the building was extended to the Taylor community.  

Fiegel visited the individual rooms and flipped through a filled prayer journal. Some of the prayers, she said, are deep — people are hurting and they need other people — they need support. The prayer chapel felt empty, almost as though there was no response, she said.

“You know God's working, but when it's silent, sometimes it's really hard to feel that,” Fiegel said. 

The Memorial Prayer Chapel was dedicated in honor of those who died on April 26, 2006. Located in the center of the building is a memorial panel in memory of Laurel Erb, Monica Felver, Brad Larson, Betsy Smith and Laura VanRyn. Additional memorial plaques are nearby to honor previous students, faculty and staff who died while at Taylor.

The building stands as a reminder of the “great cloud of witnesses,” according to the Memorial Prayer Chapel (2008).