Secret Ohio: The Healing Chapel
This tiny roadside church in Coolville started as a labor of love and continues as a place of quiet meditation and prayer for travelers.
The Healing Chapel measures 10-by-14 feet and has just four short pews. But the church has been visited by thousands of people since Janice and Lloyd Middleton were given the building in 2004 and moved it from Burr Oak Lake to a quiet stretch of Ohio state Route 33 in Athens County. Since the move, The Healing Chapel has served as a venue for really small weddings as well as a quiet place for meditation and prayer.
The Middletons had a vision for creating just such a chapel when they learned of an existing one near Burr Oak Lake, which was constructed in honor of its builders’ parents. The tiny church’s owners had been worried the chapel would be torn down when they sold their property.
“So, we went to visit them, and they took us to the chapel, and they just gave it to us,” recalls Janice, who has been the caretaker of The Healing Chapel since her husband Lloyd’s death in 2006.
The interior of the church is decorated with stained-glass windows and a painting of Jesus. There are also pencils and paper available, so visitors can jot down their prayer requests and leave them in a designated bucket. Janice reads each and every slip of paper and prays for the person who left it.
“I was there before [and] a lady pulled up out front,” she says. “She ran past me. She was in distress, and she needed that place to pray. I went in there and asked her if she wanted to pray with me, and she did.” Open 24 hours a day. Located on James A. Rhodes Appalachian Highway, across the street from the Torch Rest Area (27916-28010 W. Belpre Pike), Coolville 45723