Little farm chapel in Texas City becomes a haven in uncertain time
The small white chapel in the middle of a Texas City field once was just an idea in Pam Apffel’s head.
Wouldn’t it be nice if her family had their own place to worship or spend special moments together? It could be a throwback to a simpler time, she said.
“Up north, they have these little farm chapels, and I always thought they were so precious,” Apffel said. “It was a dream.”
When her husband, Galveston County Commissioner Darrell Apffel, bought the property on Humble Camp Road, Pam was “half-way kidding” about it, she said.
Still, the land seemed like the ideal spot for the chapel. So, Darrell got to work. He acquired church pews and stained-glass windows from a church that was being torn down in Pennsylvania, and started framing out the 12-foot-by-24-foot building.
But if the spot was perfect, the process of building it was not.
Not long after starting construction on the chapel, Hurricane Harvey, which struck in August 2017, flooded the area around the chapel, delaying progress.
When, three years later, the chapel was nearing completion — the project suddenly became a rush job. The sister of the Apffels’ daughter-in-law planned to marry in College Station in April, but because of closures caused by the coronavirus, she needed a place for the ceremony.
And the Apffels had a chapel.
“We weren’t really putting our heart and soul into it for a while,” Pam said. “But we were doing finishing touches when corona hit. We had to landscape and mow and hurry, hurry, hurry, but it turned out absolutely wonderful.”
Two days after the wedding, the Apffels also used the chapel for their Easter Sunday service. The Apffels set up a projector and a generator, and live-streamed the Easter service from Fellowship Church in Texas City while in the company of their children and grandchildren.
“You’d normally go to church with a whole bunch of people,” Pam said. “But to have that time with our kids, that’s special.”
Pam called the chapel a blessing in trying times.
“It’s such a silver lining in such a dark time because it’s a special thing to do that you wouldn’t normally do,” she said.
With the chapel open, it needed a name.
Given the struggles and solutions that went into opening it, there was only one choice, Darrell said.
They call it Waymaker Chapel.