The Willis D. Weatherford, Jr. Campus Christian Center

Accent on Christian Faith

The Campus Christian Center functions as the most visible and tangible means by which the College fulfills the third goal or commitment of its educational mission: “To stimulate understanding of the Christian faith and its many expressions and to emphasize the Christian ethic and the motive of service to others.”  With this facet of the College’s mission in mind, the Center offers several programs and special annual events through which it both emphasizes the distinctive Christian identity of Berea College and leads the College to accomplish this major facet of its mission.  Each year, therefore, the Campus Christian Center provides opportunities both to educate about the many forms of Christian experience and to nurture as well as to develop the distinctive ecumenical Christian community of the College.  The Center has gathered these educational and ecumenical activities under one broad programmatic title: Accent on Christian Faith.  Four major programs constitute this larger emphasis: (1) Opening Convocation about services related to Christian Faith and Spirituality at Berea College; (2) the Accent on Christian Faith Homily Series; (3) the Ruth Pister Hampel Memorial Lectureship in Religion; and (4) the annual Christmas activities.

Opening Convocation About Services Related to Christian Faith and Spirituality

The Campus Christian Center commences each academic year with an event that serves its Accent on Christian Faith.  Early during the fall semester of each academic year, the Campus Christian Center plans a convocation for students, during which the Center aims to accomplish three major goals: (a) offer an experience of Christian music and worship that characterizes the broadly ecumenical character of Christian identity and experience at Berea College and that primarily addresses new students; (b) provide an overview of the many services that the Center provides for all students who seek help or resources in the growth and development of their faith or spirituality; and (c) serve as a liaison between students and religious organizations, groups, or Christian churches in the area, to help them connect with one another.  For this event, Christian churches and religious groups send representatives to meet and talk with the new students.  Also, most religious groups and Christian churches that participate in this event will have displays or booths and bring information for the students.

Accent on Christian Faith Homily Series

In September each year, the Campus Christian Center offers the Accent on Christian Faith Homily Series.  With this series, the department aims to celebrate and affirm the Christian heritage of the College, but also to bring engaging, provocative, and uplifting Christian speakers to campus who will address pressing issues, questions, problems, or challenges for contemporary Christians and their communities.

The Center invites a well-known pastor, minister, preacher, or theologian each year to deliver a series of three homilies during worship in Danforth Chapel.  For this special program, the Center plans worship services in Danforth Chapel on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during the week of this emphasis.  The speaker for this homily series also delivers the Ruth Pister Hampel Memorial Lectureship in Religion during a convocation on Thursday afternoon of the same week.  In addition, the speaker for this series will often meet with various classes to speak about religious issues or topics during this week.

The Campus Christian Center instituted the Accent on Christian Faith Homily Series in 1980, after consultation and planning with the Campus Christian Council. With this program, the Center intended to introduce new students to the distinctive Christian heritage of the College and to stimulate academic discussion as well as spiritual growth among all sectors of the collegiate community: students, faculty, and staff.

The Ruth Pister Hampel Memorial Lectureship in Religion

In the fall semester each year, the Campus Christian Center offers The Ruth Pister Hampel Memorial Lectureship in Religion.  The Center invites notable and accomplished ministers, speakers, and theologians to deliver this lecture.  The Ruth Pister Hampel Memorial Lecture occurs as a convocation.  In addition, this lecture constitutes the final event of a three-day emphasis on Christian faith, during which the annual lecturer also delivers three homilies or sermons, under the auspices of the Accent on Christian Faith Homily Series.

The Campus Christian Center has offered the Hampel Lecture in Religion since 1987, through the generous support of John E. and Ruth Pister Hampel.  In 1987, Mr. and Mrs. Hampel donated funds for an endowment to support this lectureship, which became the Ruth Pister Hampel Memorial Lecture in Religion.  The donors requested the inclusion of Mrs. Hampel’s maiden name in the title of the lectureship in order to honor her paternal grandfather, Dr. Jacob Pister, who founded the Philippus United Church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1890; Dr. Pister had also co-founded the Cincinnati Deaconess Hospital and served the Evangelical Churches of the United States as president.  In 1886, Mr. Hampel’s grandfather, Alois Hampel, founded the old Lookout House, a famous country hotel and restaurant on the old Lexington Turnpike, U.S. Route 25.  The Hampels gave this gift with the hope and prayer that this program will continue effectively “to emphasize the College’s long term of influence in the field of religion.”

Since the inception of the lectureship, as part of the Accent on Christian Faith Homily Series, the following ministers, scholars, and teachers have delivered this lecture:

Accent on Christian Faith Preachers and Ruth Pister Hampel Memorial Lecturers in Religion



Kelly Miller Smith

African-American Baptist Pastor and Civil Rights Leader; Nashville, Tennessee


B. Davie Napier

Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale University Divinity School


J. Herbert Gilmore

Former Pastor, First Baptist Church;
Birmingham, Alabama


James A. Forbes

Professor of Preaching, Union Theological Seminary;
New York City, New York


Eric C. Rust

Professor of Theology,
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary;
Louisville, Kentucky


David H. C. Read

Senior Minister, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church;
New York City, New York


Mary Cosby

Co-founder of The Church of the Savior;
Washington, D.C.


Charles S. Webster

Retired Presbyterian Pastor,
Friend of Donor, John E. Hampel


Jacquelyn Grant

Minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and Womanist Theologian,
Interdenominational Theological Center;
Atlanta, Georgia


Donald N. Bowdle

Professor, Church of God School of Ministry;
Cleveland, Tennessee


John C. Cooper

Professor, Asbury Seminary;
Asbury, Kentucky


Jeb Stewart Magruder

Former White House Aid to Richard Nixon;
Presbyterian Pastor;
Lexington, Kentucky


Molly Truman Marshall

Professor of Theology,
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary;
Louisville, Kentucky


Lawrence E. Carter, Sr.

Dean of the Chapel,
Morehouse College;
Atlanta, Georgia


William W. Willimon

Dean of the Chapel,
Duke University;
Durham, North Carolina


Kenneth Chafin

Retired Professor of Evangelism,
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary;
Louisville, Kentucky


Clifford C. Cain

Chaplain and Professor of Religion,
Franklin College;
Franklin, Indiana


Harry S. Smith

President, Austin College;
Sherman, Texas


Elaine M. Prevellet

Member of Sisters of Loretto Community


J. Philip Wogaman

Pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church;
Washington, D.C.


Diane White

Minister, Composer, Vocalist, Choral Conductor;
Los Angeles, California


Joanna Adams

Pastor, Morningside Presbyterian Church;
Atlanta, Georgia


M. Eugene Boring

Professor of New Testament,
Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University;
Fort Worth, Texas


Lee Morris

Retired former Campus Minister and Director of the
Campus Christian Center, Berea College;
Berea, Kentucky


Paula McGee

Minister and President, Paula McGee Ministries,
Former Chaplain at Fisk University;
Claremont, California


Fred B. Craddock

Distinguished Professor of Preaching and New Testament, Candler School of Theology,
Emory University;
Atlanta, Georgia


Stacy F. Sauls

Bishop, Lexington Diocese of the Episcopal Church;
Lexington, Kentucky


Daisy Machado

Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs,
Professor of Church History,
Lexington Theological Seminary;
Lexington, Kentucky

Christmas Activities

The Campus Christian Center includes a third major component in the programs that it plans annually for Accent on Christian Faith: an emphasis, through several events, on the Christmas season, the season of Advent on the Christian calendar.  The department inaugurates the activities of the Christmas season with a departmental Christmas party, during which the staff of the Center decorate the facilities of the Fireside Room and Danforth Chapel, in preparation for the events that will follow.

Christmas Open House

From the beginning until the middle of December when the fall semester ends, the Campus Christian Center holds an Open House for students in the Fireside Room of the Draper Building. The Center provides Christmas cookies and various kinds of hot drinks (coffee, hot chocolate, and spiced cider), so that students can take time for breaks and moments of relaxation beside the fireplace as they complete the semester and study for final examinations.  The Open House begins at 9:00 a.m. and lasts until 3:00 p.m. each day, Monday through Friday, during the first half of December each year.

Celebration of Christmas

During the first week of December, the Campus Christian Center co-sponsors, with the Department of Music and Church of Christ, Union, an annual service of worship that emphasizes the music of the Christmas season and a reading of the Lucan gospel’s narrative about the birth of Jesus.  The Church of Christ, Union, as the historic founding church of the College, provides its ample facilities for this Christmas celebration.  The College opens this event to the entire community: usually, approximately nine-hundred to one-thousand people will attend this very popular and festive event.  The Department of Music, in addition to leading the congregation in several Christmas carols, involves the College Organist and all of the College music ensembles in this service: Black Music Ensemble, Bluegrass Ensemble, Brass Choir, Chamber Singers, Chamber Wind Ensemble, Concert Choir, Faculty-Staff Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Recorder Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and Women’s Chorus.  The several music ensembles present a rich selection of Christian music for this season.  The Campus Christian Center provides refreshments during a reception that follows this musical celebration of Christmas in the basement of the church.

The Jesse Tree

During weekly worship in Danforth Chapel in the Draper Building at noon, on the last Tuesday in November, the Campus Christian Center also offers an Advent service around The Jesse Tree.  The student Christian organizations that constitute the Campus Christian Council plan and participate in this service.   The service focuses on the biblical traditions about the lineage of Jesus of Nazareth, with readings of prophetic, messianic texts from both the Hebrew scriptures and New Testament scriptures.  As a worship leader reads a biblical text from the messianic traditions, that leader adds an ornament, which represents that specific text, to the traditional Christmas tree.  The worshippers also share the mid-day meal in the Fireside Room, adjacent to Danforth Chapel, following this Advent service.

Lessons and Carols

On the first Tuesday in December, also during weekly worship in Danforth Chapel, the Campus Christian Center also offers a service of Christmas readings and carols.  This service for the entire College community emphasizes the rich diversity of the Christian biblical traditions about the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, through numerous readings from scripture and hymns.  The worshippers also share the mid-day meal in the Fireside Room, adjacent to Danforth Chapel, following this Advent service.

Christmas Breakfast for Facilities Management

The Campus Christian Center also provides one other event during its Christmas activities, for a very important part of the College community: the staff of Facilities Management.  As a demonstration of the Center’s appreciation for the service that Facilities Management provides to the entire campus, the Center prepares a breakfast for the staff of this department, after the semester has ended, but just prior to the staff’s Christmas break.  This event includes a time for members of this department also to share their musical gifts and abilities: various members of the staff will bring their banjos, guitars, mandolins, and other musical instruments, playing music for the season and leading those who attend this breakfast in singing as well.  While the Center invites those who work in the Draper Building and some administrators to this breakfast, the Center normally restricts this event to the staff of Facilities Management, as a way to honor this staff for its service to the College community

Berea College Logo


Copyright © 2014 Berea College