NEW ALBANY – Last February the Floyd Memorial Foundation officially kicked off a capital campaign to raise funds to construct a new chapel near the entrance to the Baptist Health Floyd hospital facility. The goal was to complete and open the chapel this year.

But the arrival of the coronavirus changed plans quickly.

Now the hope is to complete fundraising and the project in 2021. To date, $215,000 of the $600,000 needed to complete the chapel has been raised.

“We want to have at least two-thirds of the funds before we break ground,” said Meredith Lambe, executive director of the Floyd Memorial Foundation. “With COVID, we have not focused on it at this time. We think this will be a wonderful addition to the hospital.”

Joe Glover, foundation board member and chairman of the chapel campaign, said fundraising has been “a bit of a challenge” during the pandemic.

“COVID has kind of taken the wind out of our sails,” he said. “There are bigger things we are dealing with now … but we keep pushing. We believe in the project and think it is really needed and will be a benefit for families in the region. It’s also important for hospital employees to be able to go to the chapel and have some quiet time.”

The current hospital chapel is hard to find and very small. The proposed chapel would be neither. It will be located off the main lobby near the pharmacy/gift shop and hallway that leads to the emergency department. The chapel will be 900 square feet and seat up to 40 people.

Lambe said she wants the chapel to be embraced by the community, which is why the capital campaign is so important. It allows the community, and Southern Indiana churches, to be part of the process. There are several levels where people can contribute, including Baptist Health Floyd employee deductions. Whether it’s a $10 donation or $250,000 for naming rights to the chapel, it all adds up, she said.

“People are behind it. We need the community to support it,” Lambe said. “Right now we have a couple of donors in the pipeline, but COVID has really stymied us.”

Glover said there have been instances that he has been involved in at the hospital in the last two years in which a chapel was needed.

One came during an Indiana University Southeast basketball game when a player for the visiting team collapsed due to a heart condition. He was rushed to Baptist Health Floyd and later recovered. But Glover said while in the emergency room, members of the basketball team came to the hospital to check on their teammate and wanted to pray in the chapel. But with nowhere to go and the size of the current chapel too small, they all prayed in the emergency department.

He also said a distraught woman asked him to pray with her while visiting one of her children at the hospital. He said they had to pray in a public waiting area, but a quiet and accessible chapel was what was needed.

“We have a lot of big families in Southern Indiana and need a bigger place to congregate,” he said.

It will only take four months to construct the chapel. There is a lot of mechanical work, including heating and air that is a big part of the construction process and final pricetag.

“It will fit nicely there and be a really nice addition,” Glover said.

Once someone steps forward with the $250,000 for the naming rights, that will ensure two-thirds of the funding and allow construction to begin, Glover said.

Several area churches have already donated to be part of the Pillar of Faith. A contribution will allow the church to be listed on the pillar.

“If people see their faith community on there it will feel more like home to them,” Glover said. “We have some churches already committed to that. That has slowed down as well due to COVID since weekly [church] collections have dropped.”

For those interested in making a donation, call 812.949.5519 or go to www.FloydFoundation.org.

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