Holly Day—Staff Writer
Good Friday, a day of reflection, remembrance, worship and… going to class? For students at Dordt, this is pretty typical of the religious holiday.
While other Christian colleges take Good Friday off, Dordt has historically held classes as usual. Administration received complaints from various students, faculty members and extremist religious groups in the area. Members of the faculty and administration finally decided to hold a meeting to discuss the issue after a group of students stood up in the middle of Core 180 this past Good Friday, reciting Mark’s version of the crucifixion in protest.
“I wouldn’t have minded, but they were using The Message,” English prof Yoshua Smatthews said. “That’s taking things too far.”
Complaints included the fact that classes made it hard to treat Good Friday with proper reverence.
“There’s not much to set Good Friday apart at Dordt,” said sophomore Jason Van Vanderinga. “It feels just like any other school day. I actually missed my church’s service last week because I forgot it was Good Friday and just started on my homework after classes finished for the day.”
This, in addition to other complaints, was discussed during the meeting this past Thursday.
“Christmas always gets celebrated because it falls at a convenient time for a break, but can’t we give students space to think about Christ’s work during Good Friday?” said English prof Dary Mengler.
“Nah,” registrar Bim Jos responded. “I mean, we already have chapel on Friday instead of Wednesday that week, which basically does the same thing.”
Mengler conceded that that was a good point, actually.
They briefly entertained the possibility of taking classes off.
“Chances are, if we gave students Friday off, they wouldn’t actually attend a Good Friday service,” President Eruk Hoekstra said. “Students who live farther away would just take advantage of the extra day and drive home to spend the holiday weekend with their families, worshiping at their home churches on Sunday. So really, there would be no benefit.”
They chose to continue with the usual scheduling of classes. After all, it’s important to have classes as much as possible.
“Following the Bible is obviously first in our minds,” said chaplain Erin Bartholomew. “But we also know that these reformed traditions have a valuable purpose. Reciting the creeds, singing the old hymns and having classes on Good Friday all serve to connect us with the faith of those who have gone before us.”
Administration will continue taking a reading day as close to Valentine’s Day as possible.