The chapel at an Oklahoma City homeless shelter has been renovated courtesy of a church group.
Friday, the Jesus House and All Souls' Episcopal Church celebrated the newly refurbished space with a special blessing and dedication ceremony at the shelter, 1335 W Sheridan. The worship area is now called the All Souls' Chapel.
Richard “Rick” Denny, Jesus House president and CEO, and Tom Parrish, chairman of All Souls' outreach committee, said the shelter and church connected through a young woman who took part in the Jesus House Transitional Goals program. The program is designed to help mentally ill people facing addiction and homelessness find the path to sobriety, employment and housing.
Denny said “Grace” successfully graduated from the program, and her family, members of All Souls' and the church's rector, the Rev. Patrick Bright, asked him to visit the church to share information about the shelter.
Parrish said church members were grateful for more information about the longtime Oklahoma City shelter and wanted to help the people who receive aid there. He said the $40,000 renovation project was the result of the church members' efforts.
Denny said the chapel previously was a “musty dusty room” with blue bowling alley chairs that eventually made way for used church pews. He said the church had limited audio capabilities and little decor such as curtains to cover its large windows.
As part of the renovation, the wood floors were refinished and woodwork featuring the Jesus House logo was created for a new door frame at the chapel entrance. Parrish said the renovation also included track lighting, ceiling fans, paint, drapes and new chairs. He said the ceiling was lowered and a state-of-the-art audiovisual system added. A wooden cross handcrafted by an All Souls' member was erected in a prominent place in the chapel.
Larry Davenport, chairman of the Jesus House board of directors, thanked the church members who gathered Friday for the ceremony. He said the project was a “true blessing” to the faith-based shelter.
“It's a pivotal part of the healing process for all the people that come through here,” Davenport said. “We could never have done this on our own.”
Parrish said church members started working on the project in April and began raising money for it in August. Members donated in-kind services and funding and others in the community made donations. Architect Bruce Bockus with Bockus Payne Associates and project supervisor Craig Johnston with Johnston Builders were leaders for the project.
Parrish said he foresees other projects in the future for the homeless shelter.
“This is the beginning of another chapter for the Jesus House,” he said.
“We all felt that the chapel is what Jesus House is all about. It's truly a work of God.”