Located in the heart of the property just north of Wilshire Boulevard, the chapel rests on hallowed ground and represents the spiritual center of the land. It is the crown jewel of the campus and an iconic symbol of hope and support for Veterans.
The restoration of the Wadsworth Chapel will realize long-held aspirations for this symbol of the Veterans Administration’s and the community’s commitment to the welfare of our Veterans. Located in the heart of the property just north of Wilshire Boulevard, the chapel rests on hallowed ground and represents the spiritual center of the land. It is the crown jewel of the campus and an iconic symbol of hope and support for our Nation’s Veterans.
But the Wadsworth Chapel is so much more than just a symbol.
The restoration and revitalization of the chapel will pave the way for various cutting-edge programs that extend beyond, and supplement, standard health and human services. The Wadsworth Chapel is a highly visible landmark on Wilshire Boulevard, one of the major arteries of Los Angeles, and it stands as a sobering reminder that the West Los Angeles VA campus must be a place of healing, comfort, and refuge for the men and women who bravely served our country and deserve our support.
Tragically, it has been neglected for decades and now is in a complete state of disrepair and in dire need of an “architectural resurrection.” To achieve this, the building will require major attention to the foundation, seismic retrofitting, asbestos and lead paint removal, and more.
With a strong sense of urgency and proper funding, the chapel’s restoration is achievable, while housing and services on the North Campus are built and restored.
The chapel will be home to a Center for Moral Injury focused on healing the moral and ethical wounds of war, fostering new research, and developing more holistic care for Veterans that goes beyond clinical diagnosis and treatment.
The Center for Moral Injury will also train and equip future chaplains on both active duty and within the Veterans Administration with the empathy and understanding required to care for those who have “borne the battle.” Those of us who have worked closely with our Veterans recognize the wounds of war are not only physical or mental, but also spiritual. As such, soul repair is core to the healing process
and all Veterans should have access to a spiritual haven. Through its restoration, the Wadsworth Chapel will serve as a source of hope and healing for generations of Veterans regardless of their beliefs or traditions.
“The chapel represents the soul of military bases all over the world, and the renovation of the Wadsworth Chapel will bring the soul back to a West Los Angeles VA North Campus in dire need of restoration. We cannot underestimate the power of bringing the soul back to our work of healing our courageous Veterans.”
Redevelopment of the entire West Los Angeles VA North Campus to create the nation’s largest supportive housing community for Veterans and families will require an investment of more than $1.2 billion to complete.
The Veterans Promise Campaign seeks to raise $188.7 million in private funding for those priorities that are not eligible for public funding. This includes the Wadsworth Chapel and other historical buildings. The cost of restoring the Wadsworth Chapel building is estimated at $28.5 million.
Consistent with the chapel’s founding mission – to serve the spiritual needs of Catholic and Protestant Veterans living on campus – the original church will be restored as a place for community and gathering for all faiths and denominations, as well as those who simply need a spiritual sanctuary. Programming in the chapel building will include a Center for Moral Injury, community activities including meditation, musical and theater performances, and lectures and symposia for Veterans.
The chapel will serve as the flagship home of the innovative Center for Moral Injury Recovery, designed specifically to address the invisible wounds, moral and spiritual traumas Veterans have suffered. Within the context of military service, particularly the experience of war, “moral injury” refers to the lasting emotional, psychological, and spiritual impacts of actions that violate a service member’s core moral values. The chapel will house a cutting-edge moral injury recovery program to address traumas specific to moral injury, including collapse of meaning or faith, loss of trust, self-isolation, despair, and failure of relationships. Participants will receive housing on campus, and counselors and therapists will guide Veteran participants, of any service era, gender, religious or humanistic affiliation.
This area will provide a quiet place where Veterans can retreat from the bustle of the campus.
Administrative spaces will house the offices of the various programs and provide community meeting rooms of varying sizes.
An endowment fund will support the long-term maintenance and upkeep of these historic properties, as well the robust programming offered in the chapel.