In response to the question “Why a Chapel on a Senior Living Campus?” the Director of Pastoral Care at Oakwood wrote “The Chapel is the sanctuary for the spirit; …it is a gathering place for the community for worship and spiritual growth, giving expression to the most profound understanding of community, our oneness in God. It is a place which invites the Oakwood community to bring its joy and grief, and provides the setting for the joy to be celebrated and the grief to be expressed with hope.”
With this in mind we tried to pick furniture and finishes that would reflect the image he speaks of.
The colors we worked with are purple-a sign of longing for oneness with God, rose-a sign of joy, green-a sign of hope, and gold, which represent a deep spiritual life and eternal joy.
The upholstery on the chapel chairs is a deep wine color with a pattern of a gold shaft of wheat, representing the Life of the Spirit. We used the same fabric with a green ground for the stacking chairs that will be used for larger gatherings.
The windows in the steeple above the altar intended to shine rays of sunlight down upon the altar. These windows proved to be too small to allow the sunrays to penetrate down the shaft. We painted the inside of the steeple shaft a pale sunlight gold. Then we painted over that with subtle rays of golden sunbeams, coming from the high windows on all four sides, with two of the beams crossing on the wall behind the altar to create the image of a cross. The effect is profoundly meditative, providing the setting in the residents own community to celebrate with joy and express grief with hope. Our intention was to provide a stage set for the stain glass windows and doors, the altar, crucifix, and other religious art objects that were created by local artists.