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The Living Water Wayside Chapel

For a tiny moment of spiritual reflection at the world’s smallest chapel

This Chapel is a tiny white building snuggled neatly between two trees beside Walker's Country Market. It was built in 1964 by the Niagara Falls Christian Reformed Church. This chapel is famous for being the Guinness Book of World Records holder for the smallest chapel in the World.

Inside the chapel it has a floor space of about 78 square foot (13 feet by 6 feet) or 7.25 square meters (4 meters by 1.8 meters). Every Easter, weather permitting, a morning sunrise ceremony is held to commemorate the day. When there are no ceremonies the chapel is open to visitors 24 hours a day with two bibles and a guest logbook that can be signed.

Stop by and see the World’s smallest chapel, relax and enjoy a moment of spiritual reflection.

Chapel vs. Church

The word "chapel" is derived from a relic of Saint Martin of Tours, a Roman bishop (year 371). He has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints in France. Traditional stories about Saint Martin relate that while he was still a soldier, he cut his military cloak in half to give part to a beggar in need. The other half he wore over his shoulders as a "small cape" (Latin: capella).

A church is any place of worship that has a permanent congregation and is run by a pastor or priest. ... Unlike a church, a chapel is a place of worship that has no pastor or priest and no permanent congregation; it's all about the physical space.

Researching the history of a chapel

Methodist chapels have been a feature of the British landscape for over two hundred years. They exist in many different sizes and architectural styles and offer a rich field of study for the local historian. During the last twenty years a great many chapels have been converted to other uses and, in those cases where former chapels are now private houses, the owners are often keen to find out more about the building's past.

The story of the chapel

Methodism originated in the 1730s as a movement within the Church of England. The early Methodists attended the local Anglican Church for formal worship and held meetings of their own in private houses for prayer and fellowship. Within a few years in the larger towns and cities, buildings were being acquired for dedicated use as a chapel or `Preaching House'. The first was opened at the New Room in Bristol in 1739.

The building of chapels during the eighteenth century did not keep pace with the increase in membership. The money to build a chapel or convert an existing building had to come from the local Methodist society and in many places private houses and other buildings were still being used until well into the twentieth century. The uncertain legal status of Methodism and fluctuations in local membership also impeded chapel development.

In the nineteenth century Methodism split into several bodies, all independent of each other, with separate records. All these bodies operated the circuit system, where chapels and preaching places were grouped for ministerial oversight, with a minister being responsible for several chapels. Many records are based on the circuit, rather than the individual chapel.

The nineteenth century was the golden age of chapel building. The several Methodist denominations witnessed annual increases in membership and this created a spirit of optimism which led to the construction or enlargement of chapels across the country. The size and style of the buildings vary enormously from those with seating for several thousand to small converted private dwellings. Often several different branches of Methodism would be represented in the same town or village, each with its own chapel.

Decreases in membership during the twentieth century and the union of the major Methodist denominations in 1907 and 1932 combined with demographic change to produce a large number of redundant chapels. Such buildings have often been demolished or converted to other uses.

Her Majesty's Royal Chapel of the Mohawks in Brantford, Ontario is the oldest surviving chapel building in Ontario.

Constructed in 1785 by the British Crown, the chapel was given to the Mohawk people.


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