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W r itte n By: de n i S e Ka n o
as you follow palos Verdes drive South with the pacific ocean on your right, you’ll come across gorgeous views, amazing homes, and a familiar sight: the beautiful chapel set atop a lush, grassy hill. Besides serving as an intimate venue for special occasions, Wayfarer’s chapel also provides visitors with a quiet place to pause and take in the peaceful surroundings. the chapel, also known as “the glass church,” sits on a cliff overlooking the pacific ocean. to say that the view is stunning is an understatement. the area is so serene and picturesque; you feel an immediate sense of calm upon leaving your car in the parking lot and walking up the stone steps toward the chapel.

the chapel was built in 1951 by lloyd Wright (son of frank lloyd Wright), and, as is common with many of Wright’s designs, the chapel features geometric designs combined with the natural landscape. according to Wayfarer’s literature, Wright was “inspired by the cathedral-like majesty of the redwood trees in northern california,” and this plays into the chapel’s designs. this unique structure was specifically designed to serve as a chapel for meditation and prayer for wayfarers, or travelers. made of redwood, glass, and palos Verdes stone, the building also features numerous triangles which are intended to symbolize spiritual values. the huge, circular glass panes are also used to convey spiritual concepts. as part of the Swedenborgian church of north america, the chapel stands as a memorial to Swedish scientist, philosopher, and religious reformer, emanuel Swedenborg. more information on Swedenborg’s contributions can be found in the nearby Visitor’s center. the chapel’s vast gardens include flowering shrubs and evergreen trees that enhance the magnificent setting. Several plants and shrubs are representative of those found in the holy land. Because of its scenic location, the church is obviously very popular for weddings, both inside the chapel itself and outside on the chapel grounds.

Completed construction of the Glass Church, 1954

The building’s exterior in 1952

All photographs courtesy of Wayfarer’s Chapel

“We chose Wayfarer’s for many reasons,” said lisa radeski, who was married there in december of 1982, and returned in 1985 for the baptism of her first son. “i grew up always knowing it as ‘the glass church,’ and we would see it when we went to the tide pools or horseback riding. it was always so beautiful sitting up there on the hill overlooking the ocean.” the atmosphere of evening occasions provides just as much drama as the panoramic daytime view. “Because our wedding was at night we didn’t actually take advantage of the spectacular view,” said lisa. “But because of the glass architecture we felt like we were part of nature, and the dark sky along with the low lighting made it seem like we were outdoors.” lisa and her husband, matt, were married by the rev. harvey tafel, who has been with the chapel since 1972. “it has the most beautiful working conditions in the world,” said reverend tafel. “it’s a ministry all of its own.” lisa has returned to the chapel several times for weddings and funerals. “i always come away with a sense of peace and calmness,” she said. “the setting and atmosphere just seem so organic in terms of doing something momentous but calming and important.”

the chapel and gardens are open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. the Visitor’s center is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. admission is free.

• the chapel hosts 400 weddings per year. • the cornerstone was dedicated in 1949. • the chapel was featured in the television series the o.c. • actress Jayne mansfield married mickey hargitay at the chapel. • the chapel is listed in the national register of historic places.

9.21.2012 | SouthBaydigS.com 47

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