You will find the Buck Rice Memorial Chapel located just off the Main Lobby elevators. The Chapel is always open for quiet meditation and prayer. Each Sunday morning at 8:30, one of our chaplains leads a service and all are welcome to attend. The chapel also hosts special services throughout the year, including the following:
- Hospital-wide holiday worship: Christmas and Good Friday
- Sacramental services: communion, baptism, marriages, blessings
- Literature distribution/other items: Bibles, Torahs, Qurans and other books, pamphlets, crosses, prayer rugs are also available if needed.
One of EAMC’s special volunteers was John Edwin “Buck” Rice. After “Mr. Buck” passed away, EAMC built a new chapel in his memory. This was funded through donations to the Foundation’s Buck Rice Memorial Fund, which was started by Mr. and Mrs. Billy Hitchcock and family. The original third-floor chapel, called the Buck Rice Memorial Chapel, was dedicated on April 2, 1989. The new chapel built on the first floor across from the main elevators, was dedicated in November of 2007.
When the new chapel was to be constructed it was important that it be built not just as another room, but as a place where real people with real concerns to be lifted up could come and have a place. It was important for those who come through the doors of EAMC to recognize that they were not coming to a place where God was not present, but a place where God resides and may be experienced. The EAMC family were asked to bring stones of remembrance (based on the story found in the Bible – the Book of Joshua, chapters 3 and 4). God tells Joshua to tell the Israelites that when they traveled through the river to choose rocks and place them on the other side of the river as rocks of remembrance. These rocks are to remind not only the ones who experienced God’s presence that day, but also to us all that God cares and is present.
Because we are a community medical center, we felt it was important that we create a community feel. EAMC employee and photographer Christine McIntosh contributed the four prints of different locations in Lee County that hang in the chapel.
Another piece of artwork featured in the chapel is the framed poem, Practicing Peace, the text of which follows:
“It’s not an idea. As an idea, it’s no more powerful than war. It’s not a demonstration. We can carry signs on behalf of other problems. It’s not an admonition; reproach cannot produce it. It’s not historical; we cannot look back and retrieve it. It’s not human nature, not a natural behavior. Primitive, we would not know it any better. It might be uncertain. It might be an endless pursuit. It might be a state of mind. It might be a journey. It might be pure energy. It might be a dream. Peaceful is not something we are, that we decided once, or something we do, that is the only route. Like forgiveness, peace is a practice. Moment to moment, it’s how we choose to be: when the grill won’t start, when the dog keeps barking, when the check bounces, when the train is late, when we are angry and searching for someone to blame.”
The poem was written by Cathryn Hankla, and Susan Loy hand lettered Hankla’s poem in concentric circles in shades of purple watercolors. The poem surrounds the word for peace in Arabic, lettered in blue.
The blue and purple border contains the word peace in nine alphabets and twenty-seven languages. The blue and gray background is made of the word peace in Akkadian cuneiform as well as the modern peace sign, which is a combination of the naval code of semaphore’s code letters for N and D (nuclear disarmament). The peace sign was designed by the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War in 1958.