On Thursday, October 19, the Emmanuel community gathered to celebrate in the dedication of the Charles F. Stanley Chapel within the John W. Swails Center, in honor of the late Dr. Charles Stanley, founder of InTouch Ministries.
The building was renovated with the help of generous contributors, including a primary gift from InTouch Ministries that helped make the project possible.
Executive Vice President, Brian James welcomed the crowd and shared some history about the building that began as a clock factory in the 1970’s and was purchased by Emmanuel in the late 1990’s and renovated into a chapel.
“It has served the Emmanuel campus for almost 25 years and has been a useful space, but I think we can all agree it was due for a remodel. We are extremely grateful to Mr. Phillip Bowen, the late Dr. Charles Stanley, and the InTouch Ministries Board for the primary gift that made all this happen.”
Next, Emmanuel President, Rev. Greg Hearn gave his heartfelt thanks to InTouch Ministries, on behalf Emmanuel University and shared his promise for the chapel.
“In response to your generosity, we today pledge to be good stewards of this chapel and to see that it is used to extend the ministry of Dr. Stanley in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world,” he said. “This will be a place of worship, a place of ministry, of preaching and teaching, and a place where people from many nations around the world encounter God and give their heart to Jesus.”
Mr. Phillip Bowen, President & CEO of InTouch Ministries (and Emmanuel Class of 1999), responded by saying how pleased Dr. Stanley would be with the space and the service.
He went on to describe how Dr. Charles Stanley believed in order to hear God’s voice, you need a dedicated place.
“He often stated that the four walls of a church, sanctuary, or chapel should be so inviting that it would draw people to step inside and be immersed in an atmosphere that would prepare them to hear God’s word,” he said. “He concluded the statement by saying God’s word should not stay in the four walls but be carried out by those who receive it.”
He shared that in the coming weeks, months and years, the Emmanuel community will be the beneficiaries of what will happen in this place.
“What happens here should escape out to this campus, this community, and this world,” he said. “If that happens, it will multiply and make you a benefactor. You had a room before, and now you have a dedicated place not just to seek his hand, but to seek his face.”
Next, Emmanuel sophomore Joseph Agustin shared his hope for the Stanley Chapel and the impact it will have on generations to come.
“On behalf of the Emmanuel University student body, I express our deep gratitude to Dr. Charles Stanley and InTouch Ministries for making this possible,” he said. “This is a building where lives will be healed, transformed, and renewed. Today is only the beginning for the Stanley Chapel as a place where students can come to worship our Living God.”
Emmanuel President Emeritus Dr. Ron White shared a memorable encounter with Dr. Stanley, where he offered a prayer over Emmanuel College while the institution was going through a financial hardship.
“I remember him saying, ‘I do not know what you should do. I don’t have any advice for you, but I know that God has everything you need,” he remembered. “He then slipped out of his chair and knelt at the coffee table in prayer. I don’t remember word for word what was said, but I remember him saying something like this, ‘We don’t understand Lord why we face challenges sometimes but none of this takes you by surprise and you are well able to provide what Emmanuel needs.”
Dr. White concluded by offering a prayer over the newly dedicated, Stanley Chapel. You can read that prayer here.
The event concluded with a benediction from IPHC Bishop, A.D. Beacham Jr. He shared of his memories of Dr. Stanley and his powerful testimony.
“That man’s heart for what God had done when he was a young man continues to this day and is celebrated to this day,” he said. “It does not end today, it will continue from generation to generation, of men and women your age who will gather in this place.”
Watch the dedication ceremony in full below!