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New prayer chapel offers quiet place to reconnect

New prayer chapel offers quiet place to reconnect

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

New prayer chapel offers quiet place to reconnect 

Jan. 4, 2007    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0599}

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

The new prayer chapel is located on the grounds of the Life Enrichment Center next to the prayer labyrinth and behind the dining hall. Photo by Don Youngs, Photo #07-498. Web photo only.

FRUITLAND PARK — The recently completed prayer chapel at the Life Enrichment Center (LEC) is an opportunity for people to go to God in surroundings that inspire the soul.

The consecration and dedication ceremony took place Oct. 17. Groundbreaking was Aug. 27, 2005.

LEC director Melinda Trotti said the chapel is a welcome addition to the facility that’s conducive to individual prayer, but can also accommodate small groups.

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful building,” she said. “It’s a wonderful place for solitary prayer.”

Trotti said the prayer chapel, located next to the prayer labyrinth, will not be a place for worship services. Instead, it will invite people to “go to God in their own way in a stunning setting.”

Bill Walker, the conference’s lay leader, said the prayer chapel “harkens back to Florida’s historical structures.” He said it was designed to be in harmony with the location, and he hopes it will be used for small group prayer and communion experiences — a time for personal reflection.

“It is meant to be a time of quiet, inner focus,” he added. “It is not meant as a meeting room.  Silence will be the most constant companion.”

The Rev. Lynn Batista, director of the Florida Conference spiritual formation team, said the silence the prayer chapel provides will be helpful in assisting people in their prayer life.

“The prayer chapel will be another opportunity for people to go to God in a quiet place,” Batista said. “It will be a place where people can listen to what God has to say to them.”

Batista said she hopes the prayer chapel will cross boundaries — regardless of age or if a person is clergy or laity — so everyone will be able to benefit from the prayer chapel’s existence.

“It is not specific to just one group,” she said. “It’s a place where anyone can sit and see the sky and focus inward.”

Those participating in the consecration of the prayer chapel included (from left to right) Mary Alice Massey, representing the Florida Conference trustees; the Rev. Geraldine McClellan, superintendent of the North Central District; the Rev. Charles Weaver, assistant to Florida Conference Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker; Melinda Trotti, director of the Life Enrichment Center; and Bill Walker, Florida Conference lay leader. Photo by Don Youngs, Photo #07-499. Web photo only.

While she hasn’t seen the prayer chapel since it has been completed, Batista said she is looking forward to using it as part of her spiritual journey.

Trotti said the prayer chapel is designed to do exactly that — work hand-in-hand with people on a spiritual journey.

“It’s a place that invites people to look inward in an aesthetically pleasing space,” she said.

The prayer chapel was a joint effort between the conference trustees and a small committee, with John Cannon of Lakeland as the trustees’ designated lead on the project.

The donors, who gave the building and endowed both capital maintenance and operations, wish to remain anonymous.


This article relates to Spiritual Formation/Camps and Retreat Ministries.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.