Map showing how to get to The United Church during road construction on Canyon Road. Courtesy image
By GEORGIA STRICKFADEN
The United Church of Los Alamos
Monday, Aug. 8, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MPNHP), Los Alamos section, is fittingly sponsoring a Lights for Peace walk at Ashley Pond Park.
“The event is designed to be a quiet, introspective experience, focused on giving visitors the opportunity to walk the lighted path in silence and have their own reflective experience based on their personal reasons for participating,” the National Park Service said (link).
In that spirit, The Historic United Church at 2525 Canyon Road also will be open 6-8 p.m. Monday. It is a two-block walk from Ashley Pond Park.
The creators of the community of Los Alamos 77 years ago, the same people who brought to fruition the devastating weapons of war used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, also eagerly formed religious institutions. Church services and Sunday Schools were held in whatever space could be found.
So important was a symbol of a spiritual gathering place to them that after the war ended, they insisted the Army provide a chapel around which to form their nacent community. The Army moved the standard issue chapel from the closed Bruns Army Hospital complex in Santa Fe to the 2500 block of the new Canyon Drive in Los Alamos.
With great fanfare and crowds, the chapel was dedicated as the Army commander turned it over to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) manager for the new civilian community of Los Alamos. That was in May 1947—two years after the atomic bombings in Japan. By year’s end, AEC Chaplain Abram Sangrey had rallied a very willing populous to form an ecumenical congregation, using the Chapel as a unifying symbol. It became The United Church of Los Alamos, and a fitting place for contemplating the significance of Los Alamos during the first week of August.
In addition to worship services at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday, The United Church of Los Alamos’ Historic Army Chapel, now its church building is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visitors are always welcome.