Oklahoma Christian University’s numerous chapels on campus aim to enlighten and support students on their paths to spiritual growth.
Aside from the daily “big chapel,” Oklahoma Christian offers other Ethos opportunities for students to attend. Taking Sides Chapel, Quiet Place Chapel, Safe at Home Chapel, Missions Chapel, Beam Chapel, Sunrise Chapel, Great Songs Chapel, and many department-based chapels are just a fraction of Ethos events students can attend to earn their required Kudos amount.
According to senior Sydney Walcher, an attendee of Quiet Place Chapel, the chapel involves the leader handing out a list of prayer suggestions and leaving the students to reflect or meditate in silence.
“Dr. Lindsey will hand out a paper with things you can pray for, stuff going on in the nation, things like that,” Walcher said. “After that, he pretty much turns it over to everybody. We sit there for 15 to 20 minutes. No noise really. No electronics. We’ll usually sit in meditation or pray, or some people will read their Bibles.”
Walcher said she believes Quiet Place Chapel is a good opportunity to find peace in the frantic, stressful life of a college student.
“With all the constant hustle, it’s nice to have a few minutes of solitude,” Walcher said. “I’ve come to enjoy the quiet. It brings a nice pause in the day when college is so full of stress and hectic schedules.”
Senior Megan McKinley, who has attended Taking Sides Chapel from its inception, said she appreciates this chapel for how it offers students different viewpoints on controversial issues.
“It’s important that OC has a forum where people can step out of their comfort zone and view issues from different perspectives, even if they don’t agree with them,” McKinley said. “It forces you to reevaluate your assumptions on things, possibly even changing your mind. I think we need that sometimes.”
According to junior Andony Escudero, who debates at Taking Sides Chapel, the chapel allows students to break away from common, popular opinions.
“Any campus, really, that’s unified by something — in OC’s case, religion — tend to have very similar ideas among students,” Escudero said. “With the school being Church of Christ based, we aren’t always exposed to different opinions. I think hearing both sides of an argument, airing ideas and recognizing that all sides have some validity to them is healthy for anyone who partakes.”
The organizer of Faithfully Ever After Chapel, Bible professor Mel Latorre, said part of the reason he started the chapel was because he felt there aren’t enough learning opportunities for how to have healthy, sustainable connections with others.
“It’s such an important, relevant aspect of our lives,” Latorre said. “We all want to be in relationships, whether romantic or friendships, but we just don’t do it very well. Where do we ever learn about it? Where do we learn how to be in healthy relationships? We have to learn as we go along, or from our families, from the media, sit-coms, Hollywood, and not all of that is positive.”
Latorre said he does his best to keep the information he provides useful to students so they can work to actively improve relationships in their lives.
“I try to keep it as practical and relevant as I can,” Latorre said. “I try to talk about stuff that’s common to most relationships, things like communication, conflict, self-esteem issues, emotional baggage, anxieties. Relationships are important. There’s a lot more commonalities in them than there are differences. We should be intentional about doing them better. It can’t be accidental. You can’t be casual about relationships. And if students can learn at least that, well that’d be a good start.”