Mission Hospital Chapel

When Mission Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital, located in Asheville, NC, merged, the Chaplains set about re-thinking the nature of the chapels for an increasingly diverse religious usage. In 2007 and 2008 I contributed the wooden furniture pieces. Here are some of the pieces for the Chapel on the Mission campus.

The Centering Table

The Chapel is designed primarily as a place for meditation. At its center is a small round table. The cherry and ash pedestal of the centering table seeks to evoke the image of a well, with its healing waters emerging in the form of a mosaic in the maple top.

Tall wood circular table
Top view of centering table

The Lectern

Small services can also take place in the Chapel, so I provided an unobtrusive lectern. The cherry base of the lectern repeats the arches of the table, flowing up to the maple and walnut top.

Tall wood lectern

The Kneelers

The flowing form of the cherry kneelers invites people into a comforting stance of prayer. The presence of knots and other irregularities in these and other pieces reminds us that wood is a living reality, which, even in death, is still breathing in rhythm with our world. Kneelers are not a part of my own spiritual tradition, so I had to exert extra imagination to design them.

Wood chapel kneelers with padded area for kneeling

Some years later, when I paid a visit to the Chapel, I noticed numerous circular stains on the top board. After a few moments wondering if I should refinish them, I realized that they were stained by the tears of numerous visitors. I left them in their quiet testimony, a tribute to their service.

The Journaling Table and Box

The small journaling table, with cherry legs, walnut feet and pulls, and a maple top, invites us to put our thoughts and prayers on paper. The small box made of ambrosia maple and walnut invites us to leave our prayer concerns to assist the chaplains in their work.

Wood journaling table with one drawer
Wood chapel box

The Bookcase

The cherry bookcase is used to display resources and store materials for the chapel. Some of the boards are colored more deeply by areas of incipient decay in the wood.

Wood hutch bookcase

The Font Stand

The original design for the room called for a large bowl with running water. A local potter made the bowl and I constructed its sturdy base. Unfortunately, for health reasons the hospital stopped the water, leaving only the handsome bowl as a visual focal point.

Wood chapel pedestal