When the going gets tough, happiness and no worries are sought by many. Through worship and praise, strength and courage is established. Most Dillard students, faculty, and staff find strength along their journey through Message in the Middle, the school’s current form of Bible study. Formerly held in the Lawless Memorial Chapel on the permanent campus of the school, the Bible study is hosted by Vision Quest.
Vision Quest is a program designed to lead the students spiritually through services, including bible study, church service and a newsletter. As the programs goes into its fifth year at Dillard, it welcomes students of all religions and shelters the many who are away from their church home.
The Reverend Gail E. Bowman, the University Chaplain and program director, said Vision Quest is more than just a church service. “We work hard to make this program exactly what it is. We were given an invitation to lead the lives of Christians,” said Bowman.
Although Message in the Middle was normally held in the afternoon on campus, the service is held normally in the late evening in the Hilton Riverside Hotel. Changing the diverse atmosphere into a room fit for a congregation, the show must go on as it is placed in the Versailles Ballroom. Throughout this service, students are given the opportunity for praise and they also receive an uplifting message.
Speakers from other churches often step in to add to the services given in the middle of the week. On a recent Wednesday, observing the small yet strong stance of the organization, Rev. Dr. Calvin S. Morris of Chicago, Ill. said he was thrilled to share his teachings.
”Looking at this school I felt a sense of humility,” said Morris. “It was like I came to preach a sermon but I saw the students living a sermon right before my eyes.
The Rev. Dr. Fred Luter, Jr., pastor of FranklinAvenueBaptistChurch, recently gave a message also. Rev. Luter stepped in the busy lives of the students to let them know that they should keep going in order to pass the test. He explained that in the test of life, things happen and in order to pass one must have faith. He said that with many of the students and staff attending Franklin, he sees Dillard as an extension of his church.
“All of us go through tests which are a part of life and I wanted to encourage Dillard to keep going. This too shall pass,” said Rev. Luter.
Keeping all hope alive, Vision Quest adds a handful with more worship with its praise dancers and its ensemble of praise singers. The two groups of students offer entertainment with different messages through music and spiritual dancing. The congregation of the Dillard community passes the peace and joy as they are given their daily bread according to Vision Quest.
Stephanie Woodard, sophomore political science major from Houston, Texas said, “Chapel and Message in the Middle are very uplifting. They give you that extra push to keep going in the mist of this compact semester.”
For the finale of its fifth year, Vision Quest will host its final Message in the Middle on June 14 with the Rev. Charlie Stallworth of Bridgeport, Conn. giving the message.
Despite its school year full of re-growth and recovery, Dillard will remain to provide its church services to the students and staff. Rev. Luter said the church is not the building, but it is the people. As long as the people are here, the church still stands.