During the Covid pandemic the congregation started to have worship services outside as many churches did when it was advised not to have gatherings indoors. During this period Kerby envisioned an outdoor worship space on the hillside in front of the church. The congregation supported this vision and Kerby set out to build the outdoor chapel in the fall of 2021.
Kerby, who’s professional career was in construction, planned and built the chapel with the help and support from his family, congregation members and friends who donated their expertise and equipment to get the structure built. Kerby worked throughout the winter of 2022 to finish the project and worship in this space began in the summer of 2022.
The space has seating for 175 with upper platforms for wheelchairs and seating for those who may have difficulty with steps. The worship space also has speakers for recorded music.
The outdoor chapel has been named “Wakondiota Hillside Chapel”. Wakondiota, a Dakota Native American word for, “a sacred space created by the cutting of many trees”, beautifully describes this worship space.
Other uses for the hillside amphitheater are being considered and the church is open to looking at using the space for appropriate community events.
The WLP group was also invited into the main church building to see the restoration work done between 2011 and 2018. The original church was completed in 1868. The restoration work as Kerby explained was completed with the goal of maintaining the original features (alter, windows, pews) that makes the church such a historic place of worship. The WLP group agreed they succeeded in this vision.
Worship services are held Sundays at 9:30 am. The Wakondiota Hillside Chapel will be utilized for worship as weather permits the rest of the summer. All are welcome to attend the services and experience this unique worship space.