Church of the Week: Precious Moments Chapel, Carthage, MO

Okay, so this week's "church of the week" here on the Desperate Pastor blog is not a church, it's a chapel. And not only that, it may be one of the worst examples of Christian merchandising on the planet. But it does have a certain (if excessively saccharine) charm to it.

It's the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, Missouri. Back in 1994, the lovely Robin and I took the kids (and their Grandma Wright) to Branson, Missouri, and on the way there or on the way back (I can't remember which), we stopped at the Mecca for all things Precious Moments. And this chapel is a part of the complex.

Precious Moments artist and creator, Samuel J. Butcher, designed and constructed the Precious Moments Chapel in 1989, and if you can get past the cute factor, it really is impressive, beginning with the door to the chapel, above.

The chapel is lined with dozens of murals-–all hand-painted by Sam himself--from the story of creation to the promise of the resurrection. The art on the east side depicts Old Testament stories; New Testament stories are shown on the west side. All of the murals combine to cover nearly 5,000 square feet.

On the east wall is a portrayal of heaven (that's me in the right hand corner). And flanking the chapel is a long corridor of meticulously colored stained-glass windows--all in Precious Moments motif, of course.

The Precious Moments Chapel is open year round with the exception of Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.


  1. Gotta love a chapel that is closed on Easter and Christmas...

  2. I'm not sure your right that this is the worst example of Christian Merchandising on the planet. It looks more to me like an example of how real Capitalism is supposed to work,,Christian or not...There were and will be many lives touched by the work of Sam Butcher..I seen many people touched by his chalk drawings and black light art as a kid when he had nothing, because I was there..Sometimes the Lord Blesses a man beyond his capacity to fathom..Sam wasn't a mechanic like the rest of the family and he wasn't a famous race driver. But he was the the best cook and pancake tosser to ever have worked the grill at the local Sambo's..He put many smiles on our faces. He was the worst driver on the highway, especially when I was on his lap and at the wheel blowing down highway around 70mph. But he could ride a bike backwards faster than I could go forward, He was a super hero back then..But most of all he was an artist that drew cute cartoon drawings and also fabulous paintings. And he was a Christian..
    Only because of him was my family introduced to the Lord..I would not say that everything is rosey, but I would say that Sam used his talent the best way that he could for the Lord. And the Lord has blessed him and his family abundantly.