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Campus chaplain’s email for Christmas service avoids word ‘Christmas’

Wake Forest University also hosts ‘Winter Celebration’

A recent email sent to the Wake Forest University campus community announcing its annual Lovefeast, a service to mark Christmas, did not include the actual word “Christmas.”

The 275-word email sent Dec. 1 to students and staff from university Chaplain Tim Auman only referenced the “holiday season.”

Wake Forest University — originally founded by Baptists — also hosts a “Winter Celebration” for employees. No mention of the word “Christmas” was in the Nov. 28 memo to staff announcing the event.

Copies of the two emails were provided to The College Fix by a member of the Wake Forest University community who expressed disappointment.

“The university does not recognize that the second most important day on the Christian calendar is coming up later this month. But it does seem to recognize the pagan holiday of the winter solstice,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

As for the Lovefeast, the campus source said it is a Moravian Christian tradition held to celebrate Christmas, as the Moravians were the first European settlers in the WFU region of North Carolina.

“But the university chaplain just can’t bear to use that word for fear of offending, well, I don’t know who exactly objects to celebrating Christmas on the campus of a historically Christian university,” said the source.

Auman did not respond to requests for comment.

While the email to the campus community did not use “Christmas,” the WFU website does include the word “Christmas” in describing the service itself, held Dec. 3. The event included many Christian traditions, including lighting of an advent candle, scripture readings, and traditional Christmas songs and hymns about the birth of Jesus.

As for the “Winter Celebration,” it is a “gathering for all faculty and staff celebrating the end of the semester,” campus spokesperson Cheryl Walker told The College Fix via email Monday.

Wake Forest University is not the first to tiptoe around Christmas over the years.

In 2015, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Tennessee developed a list of “best practices,” telling the campus to “ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise.”

In 2017, a memo provided to some University of Minnesota community members warned against Santa, Christmas trees, wrapped gifts and the colors “red and green,” calling them “not appropriate.”

An Emory University fraternity in 2021 faced disciplinary measures after putting up a Christmas wreath on its front door.

Last year, Brighton University in the UK produced an inclusive language guide that recommended using the phrase “winter closure period” in place of “Christmas closure period” to avoid being “too Christian-centric.”

MORE: All I want for Christmas is for Catholic universities to actually be Catholic

IMAGES: WFU email screenshots

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.