The tradition of Vespers (evening prayer) dates back to Whitworth’s Tacoma period, when these services were held each Sunday afternoon in the residence hall. In the early 1930s, it was co-opted by a student group known as Christian Endeavor, which sponsored Sunday-evening Vespers along with midweek prayer meetings, chapel programs, pre-Easter communion services and other special programs aimed at students’ spiritual lives.
Under President Frank Warren, who placed a special emphasis on Christian leadership and required Bible courses and chapel attendance as well as Christian student organizations and religious emphasis weeks, the Christian Endeavor group became the Whitworth Christian Fellowship, an amalgam of several other religious groups on campus, in 1955.
The years that followed would see a decrease in attendance at these voluntary religious meetings as dorm prayer groups and Bible studies attracted higher participation, paving the way for the small-group culture Whitworth students enjoy today. The early 1960s was a time when students began to reject the authoritarian approach to religion and favored open and honest discussion of theology and a campus in which a commitment to Christ allowed for exploration of all sources of truth. The required twice-weekly chapel gave way to the broader focus of Forum in the 1970s.
Hosanna, a weekly evening service, began in 1991, catching the wave of contemporary praise and worship music. The student-led Tuesday service has continued to serve as a meaningful midweek anchor for the campus community. Campus worship is held each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.