Patients and their families will now have a quiet space to get away from the stress during stays at Bothwell Regional Health Center after the Bill G. & Connie Spry McLaughlin Inter-Faith Chapel was dedicated Sunday afternoon.
The chapel comes after a year of fundraising, planning and remodeling. It is located on the first floor of the hospital near the main elevators, making it convenient for visitors to find. The project was completed thanks to several major donors, including its namesake, Connie McLaughlin, who donated to honor her late husband, Bill, who was the director of McLaughlin Funeral Chapel for more than 30 years.
For Connie, she said her choice to contribute to the project was to honor Bill, but to also help create a “sanctuary” for those going through a tough time at the hospital.
“We’ve had family members (at BRHC) very ill, I found solace in being able to go to that chapel, and I think it’s important that if a family member loses someone here, that they can have that chapel to go to have time alone,” she said. “I just think it’s really important because a lot of times when we have a crisis in our lives, it’s important to be able to go somewhere to have some sanctuary, I think.”
Sunday’s dedication was made even more special because, although it was not planned, it falls on the two-year anniversary of Bill’s death while staying at the hospital during his illness. Connie said she thought Bill would be proud to have a chapel at the hospital once again.
“He was always very appreciate of, being in the funeral business, he was always very appreciative of how the hospital was to work with,” Connie said.
Along with Connie, Janet Proctor also contributed to the project to honor her late husband, Dr. Donald Proctor, who died earlier this year. Donald was a physician for 37 years, delivering babies and performing surgeries.
“(Don) would’ve been very pleased to have a place for people to go in good times, maybe when they had a baby or good news about a surgery, or in bad times when they’ve lost a loved one,” Janet said. “He would’ve been happy to know there is a place to go to to say thanks for what you have now but also what you had. He was an awesome, awesome man.”
Janet’s contribution was a stained glass window in honor of Don, which features two doves.
“The two doves of peace, as I consider them, I think are very inspirational,” Janet said.
The Olen Howard Family Foundation also donated to the project.
The 190-square foot room features eight chairs with kneelers, along with the stained glass window, artwork and soft lighting. Connie McLaughlin said she thought the chapel was “beautiful,” while Janet said it’s “lovely.”
A chapel was originally built at BRHC in the 1960s, but renovations over the years made it inconvenient to access, and the large space, which could accommodate about 30 people and featured an altar, was no longer needed. Since that time, BRHC added a full-time chaplain to its staff as well as volunteer chaplains. Eventually, community members began discussing the need for a new chapel.
“They used to have services (at the old chapel). That’s when you came to the hospital, you were here for days and days. When you had your appendix removed and you were here for six days, and now it’s outpatient,” said Lisa Church, executive director of the BRHC Foundation and communications. “So people don’t spend that much time here. And also, that’s when the entrance to the hospital was on the east side, and now it’s just not very accessible, and we didn’t have the need for something that large. So that’s why this works so well. It’s just the right size, it’s in a very accessible area, so we’re very excited about it.”