What Chapel Means to Me

Four worshippers on what makes it the very heart of the Seminary

Production by Emrys Eller | Photography by Bill Cardoni

Kenneth Ofula, Julia Watkins, Professor Dennis Olson, and Barbara Florvil reflect on Chapel.
Bonus: Florvil sings beautiful a cappella.

For the inaugural issue of GATHER, Miller Chapel spoke to us as a place that merited fresh examination—in sound and image—for people who know it intimately or are experiencing it for the first time in this slideshow.

“It’s in the DNA of the Seminary,” says Martin Tel, the chapel’s director of music. “It’s in the language of the founders. Archibald Alexander, the Seminary’s first professor, talked about the Seminary uniting the piety of the head and the heart.”

Even the location of Stuart Hall, the Seminary’s classroom building, next to the soft yellow chapel, alludes to this “spiritual conversation between the head and the heart,” says Minister of the Chapel Jan Ammon, MDiv ’90.

martin tel and jan ammon
Director of Music Martin Tel and Minister of the Chapel Jan Ammon

If there’s anyone who knows the life of the chapel—from the visible growth nascent preachers experience within its embrace to the phenomenal diversity of its cultures—it’s Ammon.

It was to her and her colleagues, Tel and Chapel Associate Melissa Haupt, that we went to find worshippers—Kenneth Ofula, Julia Watkins, Professor Dennis Olson, and Barbara Florvil—who could describe in their own voices their rich experiences in this sacred space.

Producer EMRYS ELLER has contributed news and documentaries for The AtlanticThe Nation, and ESPN, among others.

BILL CARDONI’s work appears frequently in The Penn Stater and TCNJ Magazine.