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The Church in the Wildwood – or off the Interstate

Every time we drive back home from a visit to Washington, D.C., my wife and I notice an interesting structure in the middle of a field: a pint-sized church.

It’s small enough that one of the 18-wheelers driving past it could probably carry it twice, with room to spare. The sides are white—or else bleached white by the sun—with tiny playhouse windows.

The steeple (which takes up a third of the roof) is still straight, but is definitely “holy,” or rather “holey.” A simple wooden cross tops the structure. Birds, field mice, and insects are the only apparent worshipers.

What history are those tiny walls hiding? Why would anyone build such a small chapel, and why is it left standing after time, tide, and traffic have clearly passed it by?

My imagination can run pretty wild regarding my prayerful landmark.

I can imagine a group of soldiers during World War II, about to leave the States, wondering if the next time they pray this hard will be in a foxhole.

Perhaps a creative father built a play village for his children, and the chapel is the only building that remains.

Did the local church of yesteryear not satisfy one of the locals, who decided to build a private house of God?

What’s my favorite guess? That a hardworking man built it as a place to commune with heaven in solitude. That when the man had died and took up less space than even his chapel, his son or daughter didn’t have the heart to tear it down.

Of course, these are just my own theories.

Someday I hope I find out the real history of the little church.

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