Children's Mercy dedicates the new Lisa Barth Interfaith Chapel
"The chapel will be a place of respite, peace and healing for the patients, families and staff of Children's Mercy," said Dane Sommer, D.Min., BCC, Director of Chaplaincy Services at Children's Mercy. "When I look at what our employees go through caring for sick children, I know it will be a sacred space where staff members can step out of their busy worlds and find a quiet place to reflect after experiencing an emotionally challenging event."
Dane said the chapel also will be a resource that employees can recommend to families.
"Sometimes we want to do something for our patients and families but don't know what we can offer," Dane said. "Now we can say, â€˜Why not take a break and go to the chapel?'"
The chapel's design was guided by input from religious leaders across the city, including chaplains from Children's Mercy. The 3,500 square-foot chapel also includes a library, quiet room, a family gathering room, an outdoor garden, a prayer wall with openings where you can place a prayer request, or find a prayer that you can offer to support others, and features unique artwork commissioned from both local and national artists.
"I don't know of any other chapel in the region where there's been so much involvement of the religious community to help us make sure we were designing it properly and ensuring it is a place where all are welcome, " Dane said.
Dane emphasized that while spiritual and religious activities will be an important part of the chapel's mission, "An individual doesn't have to have a faith tradition; they don't have to be religious to go to the chapel and find rest and peace."
Visitors will enter the chapel through a curving hallway with displays representing each season. Upon entering through glass doorways, to the right is a donor wall and a tribute to the chapel's namesake, Lisa Barth, a nurse at Children's Mercy for more than 24 years. Lisa lost her battle with cancer in 2008.
As visitors enter the sanctuary, there is a series of glass shelves that will hold donated liturgical items from many faiths.
Â The sanctuary, which has capacity for about 60 people, will be open 24 hours a day. The quiet rooms and garden will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but hours may be adjusted later. A Sunday worship service designed for all faiths will begin on March 17, and be conducted every Sunday at noon.
"We're quite excited," Dane said. "We want people to feel free to define for themselves how they want to use this space, whether for prayer, worship, or just quiet reflection."