Inside the new chapel at New London Family Medical Center (NLFMC), two stained glass windows from the original chapel hang as a memory honoring the past while welcoming the future.
“We thought it would be nice to take something from an old era and bring them into this era,” said Larry Klotzbuecher, manager of facilities at NLFMC.
The windows hang, framed like artwork, in the new chapel, which provides a place for patients, doctors and community to find peace and a quiet place for reflection and meditation. “It looks pretty neat,” Klotzbuecher said.
Klotzbuecher said the chapel is non-denominational but the windows are a reminder of NLFMC’s past. “It was a Catholic-based community hospital when it first started out,” he said, recalling the nuns and priest who worked in the chapel, which provided services like communion.
When the chapel was removed, the windows were put into storage. They were incorporated into the new design when The Wolf River Area Healthcare Foundation started up the effort to return a chapel to the hospital.
Emergency Department nurse Gretchen Brei said the windows have a sentimental value to her. She said the chapel was a place where people could seek solace and comfort.
“When that was taken away and made into a computer lab, it was like there was no place to go and have privacy anymore,” said Brei, who has worked at NLFMC for 35 years. She was glad that the WRAHF and NLFMC realized the benefit of a chapel. The old chapel windows add ambience to the new chapel. “I thought it was awesome that they did take those beautiful stained glass windows and add them to the new chapel,” she said.
Emergency Department doctor Ronald Krajnik, MD, agreed. “It was also a thoughtful touch to include the stained glass windows from the original chapel into the design of the new chapel,” he said. “It is a beautiful and calming setting.”
Dr. Krajnik said staff and doctors embrace the return of a chapel to NLFMC. “It is important to have a physical place for family members to gather during stressful times such as life threatening illness or major trauma of a loved one,” he said. “This chapel offers a peaceful setting away from the intensity of the ED for family members to gather.”