The Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel is coming up on its 50th anniversary and has undergone some changes in the past few weeks.
First built in 1967 and opened in 1968, the chapel will have its semicentennial anniversary next year. Leading up to its birthday, the chapel will undergo some more updates.
Before, the sanctuary was home to uniform-wooden pews. The two middle rows were replaced with newer pews that interlock and are easily moveable to change the space for other groups on campus who use the chapel.
This change is practical and expands the functionality of the chapel for students, but many faculty, staff and students have negative feelings about the change.
See Page 4 for more on the new seats in the chapel.
The new pews are an unsettling color of blue, giving off vibes of a fellowship hall or family life center rather than a chapel. But what’s more horrifying is the Frankenstein-like quality of the sanctuary, which leaves the question to be asked: if you’re going to replace part of the pews, why not just replace them all?
The remaining wooden pews on either sides of the sanctuary lose rhyme or reason when compared to the new foreign-looking seating.
In terms of a venue space, the chapel begins to lose its appeal, and the new blue seats look like a lettuce leaf wedged between the teeth of a once charming grin. The seasonal stained-glass windows are the chapel’s crowning jewel, next to the chapel’s impressive organ. Unfortunately, the new pews are nowhere near up to their standards.
Beautiful stained-glass windows in churches are a tradition and an homage of the church to the beauty of creation. The new, contemporary-looking pews distract from the masterpiece’s ode to God’s glory.
Alumni can’t experience that same tradition and history when coming back to Angie Smith Chapel, especially those alumni who return to use the space for weddings or other events.
The chapel is an icon to OCU students, and not being notified of these sudden changes is almost heart-breaking.
What’s most important to remember is that the chapel does not just belong to the students of OCU.
The chapel, designed by famous MIT architect Pietro Belluschi, who designed the MetLife Building in New York City, is a symbol for the United Methodist Church, especially in Oklahoma.
The church has always been dedicated to education, creating “Sunday school” in the 1700s as a way to educate underprivileged children.
By removing pews that were once made custom to fill this sanctuary, pieces of the history of the Methodist Church are removed. These relics that represented all who witnessed the church’s dedication to education, as well as John Wesley’s mission for the world, are lost.