PLNU dedicates new prayer chapel

San Diego, California

Point Loma Nazarene University dedicated the new Lyle and Grace Prescott Prayer Chapel 1 May. The chapel is a new iteration of a structure that stands as a symbol of university values and the significant role prayer plays in the academic setting of PLNU.

“From the creative acts to the constructive beauty… this is truly a sculpture,” said Bob Brower, PLNU president. “This day we celebrate God’s faithfulness. From the moments he began to work in the lives of those who prayed that we might exist to now all of us who pray about the present and the future and all that God will do.”

Envisioned by Pasadena College students Ron Benefiel, Gene Schandorff, Dan Royer, and Steve Reese, the original Prescott Prayer Chapel was dedicated in 1972 in honor of alumni Lyle and Grace Prescott. As missionaries in the Church of the Nazarene, Lyle and Grace devoted their lives in service to God and others. Moreover, they believed deeply in the power of prayer in their lives and work. Their son, Bob Prescott, and more than 50 members of the Prescott family joined nearly 400 guests at the dedication celebration.  

When the university relocated to the cliffs of Point Loma in 1973, the Prescott Prayer Chapel was the only building moved from Pasadena to San Diego. The coastal environment and termite infestation necessitated a new structure, and plans for the new chapel began in 2015.

It was the desire of the Prescott family, PLNU leadership, students, and Carrier Johnson to inspire, both internally and externally, prayerful connection with the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

"The prayer chapel design for PLNU evolved from two inspirations: its serene natural setting and the spiritual significance of prayerful ambiance,” said architect Gordon Carrier of Carrier Johnson + CULTURE. “Though small in footprint, the space offers an experience commensurate with the power of prayer.”

The poured-in-place concrete chapel is filled with natural light and houses three personal prayer niches, each separated with wood baffles offering privacy while focusing on a 12-foot-tall cross placed mid-space. The power of three is evoked throughout the exterior of the structure as well. Surrounded by a prayer garden, composed of three individual prayer niches defined by carefully sculpted hedges, each niche is further enhanced by freestanding stained-glass panels, translating sunlight to color, all of which were reclaimed from the original chapel.

The design, construction, and completion of Prescott Prayer Chapel was made possible by the generosity of donors, the creative work of Gordon Carrier and the Carrier Johnson architectural team, as well as the efforts of numerous engineering firms and craftsmen.

According to President Brower, the dedication of the Lyle and Grace Prescott Prayer Chapel stands as “a testimony to Gods faithfulness, to His presence among us, and His call to each of us to become the people that He is calling us to be.”

--Point Loma Nazarene University

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