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Little white church in field built to inspire

News editor

Drivers along K-150 near the Marion-Chase county line may have noticed a tiny white chapel under construction.

David Madden of Osawatomie wants people to notice, and to think.

“I thought it might cause some people to reflect on things, more spiritual things,” Madden said. “I just thought it might look nice. I feel really blessed and just wanted to do something for the Lord.”

Madden and his wife, Leslie, bought the property about 14 years ago when they decided to get into farming. They also have a farm near Wilsey.

“My brother used to live in Lyons and we used to drive through there a lot, and we admired the area,” Madden said.

The idea of building a chapel may have been planted when the Maddens visited the center of the contiguous 48 states near Lebanon, which has a tiny white chapel on site, Madden said. But the project took flight after looking at a calendar.

“It had pictures of chapels and things, and I thought that would look kind of nice sitting there on the highway,” he said.

David and Leslie designed a chapel to accommodate 20 people that could be built in modules in their Osawatomie garage and transported to the site for assembly. The simple white structure is meant to be reflective of many prairie churches from Kansas history.

Madden began building the chapel this winter, assisted by sons Drake, 16, and Reed, 14,

“They’re pretty willing to help out,” Madden said. “We home educate right now, and that makes it work good for them to learn about things like building and community service.”

Madden and his sons started assembling the chapel a few weeks ago, but isn’t certain when they’ll be finished.

“We were out Tuesday (March 29) to put the roof on and the wind was just too strong, so we had to quit,” he said. “We might have to work in the evenings after the wind dies down or wait until summertime.”

Madden said he doesn’t plan to build an improved road through the field to the chapel, but people are welcome to walk out to it.

“We’re planning on having the door unlocked so people can go in and look at it and enjoy it however they would like to,” he said. “I thought we’d call it the Flint Hills Chapel, maybe.”

Last modified April 7, 2016

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