Vail Health unveils Frechette Chapel on second floor of hospital
Chaplains offer spiritual services to patients, families, guests and staff
Following a multi-year master facility renovation, Vail Health Hospital has completed one of its final projects, debuting the Vail Health Frechette Chapel on the second floor of the hospital’s west wing. The chapel, the first to be opened within the hospital, was made possible by generous donations from the Frechette Family Foundation.
“The Vail Health Frechette Chapel will offer valuable emotional and spiritual support for those seeking solace while at Vail Health Hospital,” said Dan Pennington, Vail Health chief external affairs officer and president of the Vail Health Foundation. “We graciously thank the Frechette Family Foundation and the Frechette family for making this space of restful and restorative solitude possible.”
The Frechette Chapel will serve as a central meeting space for the Vail Health chaplains to conduct services and will be open 24 hours a day for patients, families, guests and staff.
Vail Health’s chaplains play an essential role in supporting the emotional, spiritual and physical well-being of patients, families and staff. A new chaplain’s office is located next to the chapel. Chaplains are specially trained to work with people of all faiths and backgrounds and can customize their approach based on the individual’s needs.
“By compassionately responding to the individual or family’s concerns during sickness, hospitalization, and other challenging times, Vail Health Chaplains Mark Johnson and Jeffrey Fowler are making a positive and healing impact on our community’s residents and visitors,” Pennington said.
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Mark Johnson has been a chaplain at Vail Health since March 2022 and is a member of the Spiritual Care Association and the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Hardin School of Theology in Memphis, Tennessee, and also holds a Master of Divinity degree and a Master of Science degree in Biblical and Related Studies from Abilene Christian University. Johnson taught at the university level for 12 years. He was an instructor of religion at Panhandle Oklahoma State University for four years and an instructor and department chairman at Amarillo College for eight years. Johnson has more than 35 years of congregation ministry experience in Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, and Colorado. Johnson and his wife, Annette, have three adult sons who live in Colorado, Texas, and North Dakota.
Reverend Jeffrey Fowler is an ordained Unity Minister. He completed his seminary studies at Unity Institute in Kansas City and began work in church ministry at Unity of South Sound in Tacoma, Washington, where he served as senior minister for six years. Fowler continued his education by participating in a five-month internship at St. Joseph hospital in Tacoma, where he completed his first unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. He went on to study in a year-long residency program at St. Luke’s Hospital on the Plaza in Kansas City, completing his four units of Clinical Pastoral Education. Fowler has served as a chaplain at Vail Health since September 2022. He also works at Abode Hospice. He and his wife, Orchid, have a young son named Simon.
Thanks to the partnership of B’nai Vail Congregation, the inside of the Frechette Chapel features a scale model of the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem. The stones for the wall are made of the very same stone used by King Solomon in building the Temple in Jerusalem. In keeping with a 300-year-old tradition of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, there are spaces between the stones allowing visitors to leave a note expressing their deepest hope on a joyous occasion or heartfelt feelings during a difficult time. It is believed that a person’s most sacred thoughts transcend to heaven through these holiest stones. A prayer wall dedication event is scheduled for Sunday, July 16, with Rabbi Joel D. Newman from B’nai Vail Congregation presiding.
Donations for the prayer wall are still being accepted at: https://vhfound.org/prayerwall.