Save the North Chapel at Liberty Station

by on March 26, 2018 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

by Ron Slayen / UrbDeZine / March 12, 2018

With its current leasing notice, the McMillin Company has every intention of gutting the North Chapel at Liberty Station (San Diego) and replace it with a restaurant.  As an artist in the (slowly-disappearing) NTC Foundation’s Arts District at Liberty Station, I am leading an effort among my fellow artists to stop this outrage from coming to fruition.

The North Chapel was built in 1942, immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  One can only imagine the untold scores of sailors who attended their last church service before going off to war in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.  To even consider the destruction of the interior of this Chapel in order to maximize the profits of the McMillin Company is a slap in the face of those who have  our country with honor and distinction.

It is not only a moral outrage, it goes against the guidelines for the treatment of historic properties at NTC agreed to by Corky McMillan; that is “interiors of 10 structures are considered to be historically significant” (one being the chapel.)  It also violates provisions written by the US Secretary of the Interior Standards  regarding historic properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Perhaps the McMillan Company did not think that we would notice.   Please join our effort to save the North Chapel.

 Ron Slayen,

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

K.B. March 27, 2018 at 2:21 am

This is another bate-and-switch that McMillan Co. and partners are trying to pull off for more commercialization of public/historical property. North Chapel is one of the most historically important sites not only because of the building, stain glass windows, etc., but its role in history in the many events held their. In 2001 I filmed Ret. Navy CDR Bert Decker (5 generations Military Brass) as he spoke about the role the church played in his family’s history. His brother who was a military pilot who died in service had his memorial was at the N. Chapel. Bert was also married there. Bert’s heartfelt talk brought tears to my eyes. How many thousands of people, many military, had some of the most important and memorable events take place in that wonderful chapel? This Chapel needs to stay a chapel and hold the memories of that are also important to San Diegan’s and U.S. Navy history!


Richard Ross March 28, 2018 at 10:48 pm

SOHO is fighting the ill conceived McMillain project….out of respect for those service members who prayed here and served our country.


J. James Mowry June 7, 2018 at 9:27 pm

I was the Command Chaplain at NTC San Diego from 1986-9 and very familiar with the history and importance of this chapel. NTC San Diego was my favorite duty as a Navy Chaplain because what it meant to those of us who served there and watch young men and women who chose to worship there and the support of the local people who chose to support them in the danger that many of them would face in support of our nation. For me it would a miscarriage of God and Country to see this place desecrated to anything other than a memorial to those who have served and even died while giving their young lives in a duty to the country that we love and honor! God bless America!


Mel Ely July 3, 2018 at 7:24 pm

This was sent to Lorie Zapf;
North Chapel is about Community and Culture

North Chapel at Liberty Station should continue as a church, not just because it may be a historic site – but because it is a church – a lifeline of society. Church is a unique place that instills change in people’s lives. Strong and repeated evidence indicates that the regular practice of religion has beneficial effects in nearly every aspect of social concern and policy. Religious practice appears to have enormous potential for addressing today’s social problems.

For example consider St. John Bosco Mission which meets in North Chapel weekly. Their Faith changes individual lives as well as society. They present their faith to promote order, justice, culture, and peace; to offer real and lasting happiness – despite the widespread unbelief rampant throughout the world today.

Church is all about being a community where inspiration to do greater good takes place, where deeper love is explored, where enriching relationships occur, where authentic living is the goal. Church is a community where individuals are cared for, where gifts are used effectively, where people are challenged to grow beyond themselves.

The Church – keeps people grounded, flushing out the burden of life by providing a bedrock of faith and answers to humanity’s deepest needs. The impact of this on the community cannot be measured by financial standards, but by changed lives and social changes in the community and culture.

Dinesh D’Souza wrote: “This Christian idea was the propelling force behind the campaign to end slavery, the movement for democracy and popular self-government, and also the successful attempt to articulate an international doctrine of human rights. My celebration of Christianity’s role in shaping these great social changes comes with a sober corollary: if the West gives up Christianity, it will also endanger the egalitarian values that Christianity brought into the world. The end of Christianity also means the systematic erosion of values like equal dignity and equal rights that both religious and secular people cherish.” If secularism continues to gain, so will the restoration of infanticide, demands for the radical redefinition of the family, the revival of eugenic theories of human superiority, the suppression of freedoms of religion and expression, etc., as well as political tyranny. (Emphasis added.)

Maintaining North Chapel as a Chapel – enabling two churches to meet weekly, facilitating the continuance of weddings, funerals and special events – is of greater value to the community than the presence of another restaurant or retail facility with a worldly, money-making set of values!


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