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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Little Chapel offers solace, silence”

    Randi Kisiel, executive director of the Little Chapel of All Nations relaxes in the chapels secluded courtyard where people of any, or no, faith are welcome to visit.
    Randi Kisiel, executive director of the Little Chapel of All Nations relaxes in the chapel’s secluded courtyard where people of any, or no, faith are welcome to visit.

    A small building between a fraternity and a sorority house does not necessarily strike up images of solace and meditation.

    The Little Chapel of All Nations, however, located on the corner of North Highland Avenue and East First Street, offers that and more to students of any denomination or faith.

    Walking into the room that welcomes guests to the chapel does not make them think of a church. Instead, the room looks more like an office with a library to the left and open seating to the right.

    Further back in the room, a door leads to the chapel, which does not fit into the conventional “”chapel”” image many may have. The floor is strewn with pillows, and flags from many different countries hang from the ceiling.

    “”We are here to offer a quiet place to students or anyone on campus to come if they need it,”” said Randi Kisiel, the executive director of the Little Chapel of All Nations. “”We don’t sell religion here, we just want to make sure there is a quiet place for people who need it.””

    The Little Chapel is part of the Ada Pierce McCormick building. Built in 1990 with money from the foundation McCormick left to be used after her death, the Little Chapel upholds the idea of a quiet place for students to escape, Kisiel said.

    “”I come here because it is quiet most of the time,”” said Bob Anderson, a classics graduate student. “”The people here are nice and it’s a great, spiritual place to go to get work done.””

    The chapel is open to anyone, even those without religious beliefs, whenever they feel like they need a place to escape.

    While the connotations of the word chapel may make people think that the building is strictly religious, it is necessary to look beyond that, Kisiel said.

    “”If you are interested in what we do, stop by,”” Kisiel said. “”Someone will be happy to talk to you and answer any questions. This is a very open place and we just want people to know that.””

    The Little Chapel is home to various religious groups on campus including smaller ministries and Buddhist groups, Kisiel said. Other organizations hold regular meetings in the building as well.

    “”We use the Little Chapel during the 24/7 prayer event at night,”” said Kristin Shermer, a sociology freshman. “”From 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. we pray in there because it’s a secure place and the people are nice enough to let us use the chapel for those hours. If we weren’t there we would have had to hire security to stay on the mall at night, and that can get expensive.””

    “”It’s weird when people ask us what we do here, because the truth is we do a little bit of everything,”” Kisiel said. “”We are not dominated by one faith or ideology. It is more about offering people that quiet place to do whatever they need whether it be meditate, work on homework or even if they just want a nice place to eat their lunch.””

    Students who have used the Little Chapel agree that the attitude behind it is a solid foundation for new thinking.

    “”McCormick’s vision of what the Little Chapel should be is fantastic,”” Shermer said. “”It is such a great idea when you think about it. This is a place where people can meet and come together without religious barriers and meditate.””

    The Little Chapel usually has a consistent flow of people throughout the day, Anderson said.

    “”It’s not too busy right now, but usually there is some sort of meeting or group here using the lounge area, chapel or library,”” he said. “”It seems to be a good place for people to meet up so it is serving the purpose it was intended for.””

    Some use the Little Chapel as a home away from home, Kisiel said. She explained that one student stops by in his free time to just hang out, make breakfast or do homework because life in the dorms can be a bit overwhelming.

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