In 2005 Bellevue's Annual Love Offering was earmarked for a new prayer chapel.
2005 Love Offering
Since that time, little has been said about a prayer chapel. Some who saw the plans claimed there was a prayer labyrinth in the plans. I've been trying for a long time to confirm this and only recently acquired what appears to be an architect's rendering of the Bellevue Prayer Chapel.
Prayer Chapel Plans
While the plan appears to include a labyrinth, upon closer inspection you can see, at least in these plans, it's really a circular room with three concentric rows of pews and kneeling benches. There are four doors off the main circular corridor leading to this room, and there's space in the center for a sculpture or some other focal point. While not a labyrinth per se, it does seem to have been inspired by the same.
Others who claim to have seen the plans have said the plans they saw specifically included a "prayer labyrinth" which was labeled as such, so perhaps it was removed from the original plans or there were more than one set of plans made.
However, the idea of a separate prayer chapel, especially in light of the recent budget shortfalls, begs a number of questions.
1. Why does Bellevue need a whole separate building devoted to "prayer"? We already have a 7500-seat auditorium that's open during the day as well as a chapel. Why the need to go somewhere special to pray?
2. Would the prayer chapel be open 24/7? If so, how safe could this be?
3. Who will "man" it? Paid or volunteer staff? (There don't appear to be any offices in this particular plan.)
4. There's a large 100-seat classroom/auditorium at the rear of the building. Again, Bellevue already has a whole building full of classrooms. Why spend money on more classroom space?
And speaking of prayer, here are the Personal Prayer Guide and the first two "assignments" for the "Pastor's Pit Crew," the children's prayer ministry that was begun by the new Director of Prayer. Is this what Steve Gaines meant when he said he was going to teach Bellevue to be a "praying church"?
Personal Prayer Guide