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Chapel story sparks discussion
I just finished reading the Spring 1999 issue of Wittenberg Magazine (except for the class notes for years after 1951 or so because I graduated from Hamma Divinity School in January 1949) and enjoyed it very much.
It’s a real improvement over its predecessors. The “Witt World” article on page 51 was most interesting. The chapel was used for daily services while I was a student from June 1943 to January 1946 when I entered seminary.
Dr. Robert G. Remsberg, an ordained Lutheran pastor, was the college pastor and a professor of philosophy. Since philosophy was one of my two majors, the other being chemistry, he was my major professor and mentor and became my dear friend.
There were few male students on campus from 1943-45, so he recruited me to be the acolyte for chapel services, and, as I recall, I lit the candles for almost every service in the chapel.
Those worship experiences and my relationship with Dr. Remsberg played a major role in my becoming a pastor instead of a metallurgist. I was ordained 50 years ago last January.
When the chapel’s chancel was renovated in 1947-48, new and ornate altar candlesticks were added. I think my parents might have given them to Wittenberg in my honor. If they did not, then I think they were a gift of the Wittenberg Women’s Guild.
I also read with interest the article about L. David Miller, former dean of the School of Music. The article stated that Dr. Miller’s late wife, Ann, was “executive director of the Wittenberg Guild from its inception in 1959 until...1976.”
That brought back memories, too. For your information, there was a predecessor organization to the Wittenberg Guild called the Wittenberg Women’s Guild, of which my mother, Mrs. Hazel H. Fauble, was president for several years.
Although she never attended college, she became interested in Wittenberg when I was a student and became a member of the Cleveland chapter and later president of the “national.”
There was no staff person for the Guild, but I believe she related to President Rees Edgar Tulloss, Dean Ruth Immel and Philip G. Lottich in the administration.
She served without renumeration and traveled all over Ohio and Indiana, visiting existing chapters and organizing new chapters of the Guild, usually by train because she had a New York Central railroad pass since my father was a NYC employee.
Even after she left office, she retained her interest in the Wittenberg Guild. Her last active day was in June 1959 when she attended, as a visitor, the annual meeting of the Guild in Springfield.
She returned by train to her home in Cleveland that afternoon, suffered a stroke that night and died a week later on July 3, 1959.
Editor’s Note: The following was sent to Justin B. Dilley, ’01, one of our writers, concerning his Recitation Chapel article in the Spring 1999 issue.
Using it for classroom space seems a waste. Wittenberg is not a state school where all space is equal and none especially sacred, apart from the bathrooms, and one cannot be sure of those.
The chapel was redecorated, e.g. the walls, re-stenciled by the Rambusch Co. in New York, then in vogue for such work but long since not. The 1960s favored much more radical designs.
Nancy Rambusch also was the U.S. founder of the Montessori schools. At the same time, the organ was vastly improved by Moller or Schantz, if memory serves.
The organ and chancel furniture were removed to the new chapel, the pulpit at one point having been in Hamma Chapel. The pews went off to scrap lumber and with them went some decades of carvings made by enamored or bored listeners.
After that the space became what the communists would have made it in Moscow or the Puritans under Cromwell. When sacred places are secularized, the underlying reason is usually anticlerical.
The worshippers revolt against too long a time of getting little for their money. The last time Rees Tulloss, for whom I worked in his ex-abattoir 1948-49, spoke at a senior baccalaureate was in that chapel.
He took as his theme, “Remember the home folks.” It was a choice typical of him—non-controversial yet forceful. He always had an air of one who meant business and was all business.
As Dr. Remsberg said of him long after his death and shortly before his own, “He was a hard taskmaster.” Someday an historian, perhaps Dr. Kinnison, will review the near bankruptcy in 1937 of the college and its censure by the AAUP.
Somehow salaries got paid and football scholarships forgotten. I note that you are also a thespian and hope your plays are other than what on Broadway were called “artistic triumphs,” e.g. closed on Monday night.
Be assured that Wittenberg has produced its share of competent journalists. The way to write is to write. The way to get published for financial gain is to dwell on the four S’s: sex, society, scandal, and sports.
Our younger son is the Warner v.p. in charge of all features productions. Scripts still follow the premise of the four S’s, one or more. Be advised that the scarcest and best paid literary talent in Hollywood consists of masters of credible dialogue.
Anyone can push the murdered down the stairs, vomiting as he goes. Do good work and keep in touch. Avoid the Kissing Bridge and get all the term papers in on time.
At Wittenberg, the most competent professors do not accept excuses and require the students to recite, i.e. have all the factual answers in class.
Remember also that all superior writing comes from a tortured soul, and sometimes a hangover and certainly at the behest of a deadline.
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