In a high mountain meadow in the Coconino National Forest of Northern Arizona, the weary traveler comes upon a place to pray in peace and beauty ... a place to rest the soul. This is the interdenominational Chapel of the Holy Dove. The entire back wall of the chapel is glass, giving worshipers a stunning view of the San Francisco Peaks.
Other views (click to enlage):
Here is the history of the chapel, from a handout I picked up during my visit (author unknown):
The Chapel of the Holy Dove sits on a parcel of land originally part of a small ranch purchased by Watson M. Lacy, MD in 1960. He was the only physician at the Grand Canyon Hospital which he operated with his wife, Ruth. They came to this area for respite from the demands of the medical practice at the Canyon. The beauty of the Peaks affirmed the goodness and majesty of God. They wanted to give travelers the opportunity to share it. In the summer of 1961, with the help of his sons and some hired hands, the 41 year-0ld Lacy, with no experience as a builder, used explosives to create holes in the rock beneath the Chapel to secure and position the large Ponderosa Pine logs which comprised the original A-shaped structure framing the San Francisco Peaks. Local volcanic rock and petrified wood was used to build the supporting stone walls. This was a project for intermittent days off from his practice at the canyon. The Chapel was completed in 1962. Dr. Lacy died October 1991. The ranch property was sold but the parcel on which the chapel stands remains in the trust of his widow.
History of the Chapel of the Holy Dove
On March 8, 1999, the Chapel was destroyed by a transient's campfire but the stone walls remained. Shortly thereafter, 18 year-old NAU student, Christen McCracken obtained permission from Mrs. Lacy to raise funds to rebuild the structure. Since the Chapel had become a popular landmark, the local public supported the project. Many materials were donated by Flagstaff merchants. Volunteers supervised by Flagstaff resident Ricky Roberts, completed the current Chapel, similar to the original, in April 2000.
The Chapel is open to All. Four of Dr. Lacy's six children, the daughter of an Arizona governor and Christen McCracken were married here, besides many others. The chapel of the Holy Dove was named to acknowledge the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, described in Matthew 3:16 as descending "like a dove" above Jesus in commissioning His earthly ministry as God, Incarnate.
The building was dedicated in memory of Dr. Lacy's brother, George, and nephew, Randy Lacy, who drowned in a boating accident in California in 1957. The original memorial plaque read: "In Memory of George and Randy Lacy whose great love in life and great courage in death made known the Glory of God." Lacy's profound grief resulting from the loss propelled great soul searching which led to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Once an agnostic, he discovered "...the Way, the Truth and the Life" was to be found only in Jesus, who said of sacrificial love in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."
It is our prayer that all who visit the Chapel of the Holy Dove would experience God's love and power.
Directions: 18 miles north of Flagstaff on Highway 180, near milepost 236.
Last visited: May 2011.
Standard disclaimer: Sites are described for entertainment purposes only, as they were at the time of my last visit. I can not vouch for the current condition of the site or its accessibility.