Church plans to build 'Memorial Prayer Chapel in Woods'

BRANCH — For members of the Evergreen Covenant Church, outreaches to the community have always been a focus, and in 2023, the church also is reaching out in a different way — through nature and making use of their beautiful land in the woods at 7396 S. Evergreen Road in Branch.

The wheels are in motion for placing a memorial prayer chapel in the woods, not only for church members, but for the community and visitors to the county — by late spring. 

The vision for the chapel is "to have a place to come and pray in a wonderful setting," according to the Chapel Committee. 

"We do a lot of things to benefit the community. This project was approved a few weeks ago. It will be along the prayer path, which is 1/2 miles long and has the Stations of the Cross along it," Chapel Committee Chair Chris Gross said. 

The church is working on purchasing a 12-foot-by-30-foot building which will feature a 12-foot-by-6-foot porch and a 4-foot-by-10-foot walkway. The chapel will be placed behind the church parking lot, in the woods near the half-mile-long prayer path with the Stations of the Cross along it. It will be visible from the church. 

"This chapel, which is a cabin we are buying, is already assembled with real logs and a beautiful interior. People could sit in the chapel and see the nature. We hope to raise funds and have the dedication before Memorial Day," Gross added.

The community is invited to use the chapel, and also to buy memorial bricks to help build the chapel. 

Pastor Keith Foisy said the idea was conceived last May. 

"We talked about a prayer chapel some years ago, but recently decided to make it a memorial prayer chapel. This is a great way to remember those who were part of our life. They are the Great Cloud of Witnesses, This is a way to honor their memory and connect with God," Foisy said.

Foisy said the Evergreen Covenant Church dates back to the late 1800s, and people in the community may have family who passed who were connected to the church. He said the chapel is a way of being part of the community and church. 

The chapel will be community friendly and will be open 24/7. It could be used for small weddings and funeral services, or for anyone who wanted to utilize it for prayer, Foisy added. 

"We are trying to use the land here, with the prayer labyrinth, prayer path, cross — a place for people to be with God," Foisy said. 

The walkway and porch will be paved with memorial bricks, which will finance the chapel. Each brick will be engraved with the loved one's information, or Bible verses of their choice. The number of lines and characters of print will depend on the size of the brick. Clip art also can be factored in for an extra charge of $10. 

Bricks can be purchased for $100 for a 4-inch-by-8-inch brick, which there are 272 spaces available on the porch and 130 spaces on the walkway; and $200 for an 8-inch-by-8-inch brick, which will each count as two spaces. 

The spaces will be reserved on first-ordered, first-choice basis, but organizers said they would do their best to honor the donor's placement choice. 

For more information, visit www.evergreencovenant.org, which will have more details and a link to the order form. If mailing a check, make it payable to Evergreen Covenant Church and place Memorial Chapel on the memo line. 

"We believe that this 'Memorial Prayer Chapel in Woods' is a beautiful place to pray and honor your departed friends and loved ones," committee members said. 

The church also is working on a pickle ball court combined with basketball court.