Ila McClenahan could hardly contain her emotions as she participated in a dedication ceremony for a new chapel at Northern Montana Care Center on Sunday.
“We've been working on this for 10 or 11 years, ” said McClenahan, the director of pastoral care and activity director at the care center. She held back tears as she saw the realization of her work.
For the last two years, the care center and Greater Havre Area Ministerial Association have partnered to raise funds for the chapel, named Grace Chapel in honor of the Space for Grace fund-raising campaign.
After the brief ceremony, McClenahan said she hoped the chapel would be “a haven of peace” for residents and families.
The chapel will be used for private prayer, community services and funerals.
Hospital officials, community leaders and residents jammed the chapel for Sunday's dedication.
“When the end of life is near, people become more aware of spiritual things, ” McClenahan said after the ceremony, pointing out the need for the chapel.
A lot of people contributed time, money and prayers for the chapel, she said.
“A lot of people sacrificed so this could be possible, ” she said.
For instance, many area area farmers took up the challenge to donate the first 100 bushels of their crops in honor of the first Hill County homesteaders 100 years ago.
Crosses on the wall at one time adorned the walls at the old Lutheran Home, said Leann O'Reilly, a retired nurse who once worked at the Lutheran Home and later at the care center.
During the brief service before the open house, Mary Stevens of First Lutheran Church played religious tunes on the harp.
Care Center Administrator Lori Henderson said the chapel has been one of her goals since she came to the facility just a few months after it opened.
Christin Obresley, executive director of Northern Montana Healthcare Foundation, thanks the many people for the work that went into the opening of the chapel.
She thanked the ministerial association, especially John Chapman, Tim Zerger, Rowlie Hutton and Brad Ulgenes.
Also deserving credit, she said, were Northern Montana Healthcare Administrator Dave Henry, trustees, Henderson and McClenahan.