Schoon Chapel: Graves Hall’s Underground Secret

So a few weeks back, a friend of mine let me in on a secret about Graves Hall. I know writing it out in a blog post defeats the purpose of it being a secret, but nevertheless it’s too much of a gift not to share:

In Hope College, there is a building called Graves Hall:

Graves Hall

In Graves Hall, there is a dimly lit stairway:

Stairway towards Graves Hall Basement

At the bottom of the stairway, there is a door:

Opening the door...

Through the door, there is a hallway:

Basement Hallway

At the end of the hallway, turn right. Keep walking until you reach the lounge, then turn left. There is a door that reads “Schoon Chapel”:

Schoon Chapel Entrance

And in Schoon Chapel lies a most beautiful sight:

Schoon Chapel

According to this website on Graves Hall, the Schoon Meditation Chapel was made in the 1960s after Rev. Henry Schoon, a former Hope professor. This morsel of Hope history boasts several quaint pews face an alter with a carved, wooden cross peeking through translucent white drapes. The room carries the type of silence that hums in your ears. Christmas lights are strung along the walls of the room, filling the room with a solemn warmth. I would’ve considered it creepy if not for the throw blankets, the notes, and the journals scattered along the pews, evidence of visitors like me who have come to trust the room and its white walls.

Schoon Chapel

Behind the pews are tables and shelves that hold Bibles, other reading material, markers, and a board with colorful words:

 Books and Bibles Prayer Request Box

Poster filled with empowering words
Try to find my contribution: Relief

Although I didn’t know the exact purpose of the board, I had written relief because that was the most prevalent emotion I had felt at the time of my first visit. The burden of school work, social drama, and loneliness had slipped away, and I was filled with peace.

I found myself this past week wandering in and out of the room, sometimes bringing my Bible to study, other times sitting in the front pew and praying silently (Songs I like to play when I’m alone in Schoon Chapel). For future students who need a few minutes away from the world or who want a place to worship without fear of judgement or distractions, Schoon Chapel extends her arms to you.

If you want 24/7 access to the room, contact Campus Ministry at (616) 395-7145 or chaplain@hope.edu. All you need is your student ID number and they’ll have it open for you within 24 hours. Enjoy this little Hope secret!

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