The new Lisa Barth Chapel at Children’s Mercy Hospital is “a place where all are welcome.”
"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, ‘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.
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.”