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“Big chapel” as default: a series of chapel opportunities

The purpose of this series is to educate and encourage students who do not find fulfillment in big chapel to visit alternate chapels without hesitation. Oklahoma Christian University offers over ten different chapels during the mandated time, allowing students to follow individual interest paths for spiritual fulfillment.

Over a year ago, Oklahoma Christian launched Ethos, which gives students an alternative to attending daily “big chapel” in Hardeman, thus giving students other ways to increase their faith.

Oklahoma Christian provides opportunities for students to grow spiritually from different outlets, yet many students do not seize the opportunity. I consider educating and encouraging students about the various modes of worship is important.

While big chapel does fit the spiritual needs of some students, others attend big chapel as default.

For me, attending smaller chapels felt intimidating. I constantly questioned whether or not I was allowed to go. I felt excluded from different chapels due to my lack of knowledge.

Coming from a small town, the idea of a smaller chapel appealed to me, but the lack of invitation and prior knowledge pulled me back to “big chapel” as default. Without proper publicity and prior knowledge, students cannot fully commit to a smaller chapel.

This series is not to bash “big chapel”. Many students love the traditional setup. Last week, I visited with a “big chapel” attendee, freshman Laura Dutton. Dutton said she visited smaller chapels, but felt a larger draw to chapel in Hardeman because of the “traditional” feeling.

“In smaller chapels [like great songs], there is just singing, where in big chapel we have a prayer, singing and a message,” Dutton said. “It is like a 3-in-1 package deal. This is more of what I grew up with. I didn’t want it to be just a message or just singing. I like something that has it all.”

Although Dutton said she enjoys the option of other chapels, she would rather stick to a traditional style of worship. Dutton said she enjoyed the series “big chapel” had over missions, and while Dutton said she is aware of a chapel specifically focused on missions, she still prefers attending chapel in Hardeman each day.

“I would probably test the waters with some [smaller chapels], but I would not mind going to big chapel every day,” Dutton said. “I like hearing different people and different perspectives. I really don’t think [chapel size] affects me. I am more about proximity and the central location of big chapel.”

Aiming to increase knowledge of various chapels, stories will run concerning alternate chapels. The series, written by students in an upper level journalism class on campus, will cover ten different chapels including: Coffee with Christ, Seekers, Great Songs, Faithfully Ever After, Safe at Home, Taking Sides, Quiet Place, Ready to Speak, Beam, Missions, Spanish, and Bible Kickback.

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