The Wayfarers Chapel is an architectural masterpiece that was carefully designed to be a sanctuary of worship like no other. It has the beauty of a design masterpiece, creating an environment primed for worshipping a Creator, by being embraced by the creation itself.
An Architectural Legacy is in the Genes
Wayfarers Chapel is the design of architect Lloyd Wright, son of the famed Frank Lloyd Wright. They shared the same passion and talent to create what is known as organic architecture, a style of design where the structure is in perfect harmony with its environment. Combining skill in structural design with a talent in landscape architecture, it was only natural that this marriage of talents would create the ultimate example of organic architecture. The Wayfarers Chapel is a place that one would feel connected with the outside while yet sitting inside a structure.
The Glass Church
Nicknamed The Glass Church, it is known for the one design element that creates the majority of the structure, however some would differ that the most important element to be noticed rather than the glass, is the outlying canopy of trees. When you are inside, you will see nothing but trees surrounding it. In fact, the inspiration for Wayfarers Chapel was conceived while Lloyd Wright was on a trip in the redwood forest in Northern California. He decided then that this serene setting would be his design if he should ever build a church. If you notice, the trees that exist surrounding the church are redwoods.
Serene Gardens and Symbolic Waters
The property is about 3.5 acres of manicured gardens, structures, and trees. You can find a self guided walking tour map on the path to the church, with requested donations of $1. It describes the different gardens and features on the grounds. Most everything has symbolism in the design, such as the triangular shaped Reflection Pool, that represents 3 sides to a triune God and waters that are symbolic of divine truth. There is a meditation garden and a rose garden, along with a terraced amphitheater made of the greenest grass I have seen this side of the drought. If you stand back in the corner of this amphitheater, you can get some great views looking back of the chapel nestled among the trees and the Pacific Ocean beyond the colonnade.
A Welcoming Message
The chapel was built in 1951 as a memorial to Swedenborgian, an 18th century theologian. His works in the 1700s were most noted for his scientific approach to spiritualism, and focused on a God centered belief to how the universe functions. It was a perfect blend of the two, as it created a much more palatable message of acceptance and tolerance, a message that was relevant for the time, and still has continued relevance today. Those teachings are the foundation of the Swedenborgian church, which is a functioning church through the world today. For a church that was founded on God’s creation, it was only fitting that the memorial would reflect a type of sanctuary that would become one with its natural surroundings. Today, people of all religions and walks of life will appreciate the extraordinary architecture that was used in the design of Wayfarers Chapel, and can find a holy connection between man and nature.
A Chapel of Love
Wayfarers Chapel is one of the top destinations for weddings and recommitment ceremonies. There are brochures inside the church as you walk in if you are interested in having a ceremony there. Not only does the chapel itself provide for a beautiful setting for saying your “I dos”, but the grounds are a beautiful backdrop for wedding photos. The gorgeous trees and the Pacific Ocean behind can make for some very beautiful photos. The church also actively holds services every Sunday morning at 10 AM.
Visiting Wayfarers Chapel
The church is located in the Palos Verdes Peninsula, off of Palos Verdes Dr., the main road running along the coast and through the peninsula. You can take the 110 freeway in through San Pedro, or you can wind in from the north through one of the roads that connects off Hwy 1. Palos Verdes is a very remote area, great for relaxing and sight seeing. Other activities to see on the area are Point Vicente Lighthouse and Interpretive Center, Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, Korean Bell of Friendship, Point Fermin Lighthouse, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Ports O’ Call Village, and Battleship USS Iowa. Once pulling into the parking lot, you will notice another building, which is the Visitor’s Center. There you can find more information, literature, and spiritual books and gifts. For more information, you can also visit their own site. The grounds are open daily from 9am to 5pm, and the visitor center from 10 to 5pm. Sunday services are held at 10am.
Wayfarers Chapel is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.
5755 Palos Verdes Drive South / Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275 / (310) 377-1650