A church for the community
Big Sky Chapel celebrates 20 years
Bradford Lartigue was fresh out of seminary, new to Big Sky and able to be part of the rallying effort for Big Sky Chapel. An old wooden handwritten sign in 1998 noted the step toward a dream and the formation of a part of the foundation of this community with no condominiums yet in sight and Lone Peak majestic in the distance. Twenty years later, Lartigue is proud that the church fulfills its intended mission: a gathering place for all. The hallowed space echoes with the sounds of acceptance, love and faith. He said coverage from the Lone Peak Lookout helped spur fundraising efforts to make the church a reality.
Kevin Kelleher, former owner of newspaper, dug through countless tubs of newspapers – his “morgue” – so that he could produce the original article written about the groundbreaking.
“We are a strong backer of the church, covered it while it was being built in ‘98 and then when it opened in 1999. We felt that that was a key to the community maturation process – having a place of worship. Having the land donated by the Kircher family really made it possible,” Kelleher said.
The idea of a community church to be shared by various faiths was well accepted by the entire community back then, he explained.
“We covered it quite a bit,” he said.
The concept of many faiths sharing one space was established after the board of directors began looking at other mountain communities. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, All Saints Episcopal Lutheran Church and a nondenominational Christian church all existed individually, but came together beneath one roof in the Big Sky Chapel.
“It really has personified what it means to have a taste of heaven. I’ve always said that, having one church building helped the community to see that we were working together – looking out for our spiritual community together,” Lartigue said.
Weddings, funerals, christening, chamber music concerts, Christmas shows, vacation bible school, counseling from pastor or priest: it is a center for personal development, milestones, love and loss.
Karyn Lawless said her mother’s funeral was held in Big Sky Chapel, as were the funerals of several friends. The church has been essential for the community and good to her family, she explained.
Lartigue said the chapel is a great place to feel close to God – with Lone Peak framed in the windows behind the sanctuary.
“When the Kircher family donated this property in the heart of Big Sky – with this incredible view. It gave us a completeness,” he said.
The board is comprised of three representatives from each congregation – fairness and collaboration are continually the focus of those involved, Lartigue said.
“We have the best example of what heaven should be, because we are all under one banner of heaven. I don’t see that heaven is going to exist with separation. We separate ourselves with our human shortcomings,” he said.
He feels that Big Sky Chapel is an amazing example of what it means to coexist with each other – no matter of economic, racial, or religious background.
“The idea is that God created us as a mosaic,” he said. “I wish we could reproduce this concept for the world.”
The 20th anniversary celebration of Big Sky Chapel will take place Aug. 25 from 1-4 p.m. with a community barbeque. All are welcome, Lartigue said.