TOPEKA | In the busy, busy world of the state capitol, it's hard to find a place for peace of mind let alone a place to ask guidance from your maker.
So it is that state Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, an Olathe Republican, is proposing to add an all-faith chapel to the state capitol. Where it will go or how much it will cost is still unknown.
His bill says the chapel shall be a refuge for prayer and meditation.
Siegfreid, a Christian, believes a chapel would be an important addition to a building where so many people either take part in prayer breakfasts or Bible studies.
"There are a lot of people in the Legislature who faith is important to," said Siegfreid, the House majority leader. "There are issues in the Legislature and in the capitol that will try one's faith."
Siegfreid said he understands that there had been a chapel in the capitol up until the 1970s when the room converted to another use.
The new chapel might go on the second floor, which is home to the governor's office and other lawmakers' offices. Or it could go in the new visitors' center, which is part of the ongoing construction at the capitol, he said.
Regardless, Siegfreid said it would need private money. But the cost won't be known it's determined how the chapel will be equipped and furnished.
Siegfreid holds a prayer breakfast every Thursday in the basement of the state office building across the street from the capitol. He said it's attended anywhere from 18 to 30 people.
The Capitol Commission, a Christian organization that ministers at the capitol, also holds Bible studies at the statehouse, Siegfreid said.
Siegfreid will testify for the bill at a session of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee next Wednesday.
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley offered some historical perspective on the issue Friday. He said that former Kansas Gov. George Docking once vetoed a legislative appropriation for a chapel at the capitol.
"The reason he didn't feel that we should have a chapel is because that would just be a convenient place for the Legislature to hide it's whiskey bottles," Hensley said.
Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, a McPherson Republican, said a legal opinion should be sought before signing off on the bill.
"Do a lot of us pray here? Constantly," Emler said.