Grand opening for ?Little Chapel in the Woods? this weekend

Bob Dodds was known to many as a very generous man. He never knew a stranger and greeted everyone with a smile and a handshake.

In his 73 years of life, he wore many hats from politician to farmer to insurance agent and pastor. He felt his most important role was to tell others about ?God?s plan of salvation.?

In honor of Dodds, the grand opening of the ?Little Chapel in the Woods,? will take place during New London?s Holiday Stroll during the evening of Dec. 2. The chapel is on the Dover Museum site at the corner of Main and Maple St. in New London. Visitors will receive a gift.

Thanks to an Enhance Henry County Community Grant, the chapel has a new roof and steeple, which was handcrafted by Lauren Cory. Volunteers cleaned the interior and painted the exterior.

Dodd died on Jan. 1, 1998, but his memory lives on in the ?Little White Chapel in the Woods.?

After retiring from Bonaparte Baptist Church where he preached for over 17 years, Dodd founded Mud Creek Chapel Retreat in rural Henry County. This 55 acre recreational area was created for area church and youth groups to enjoy and to learn about God as Dodd spent many hours teaching youth of the area and anyone who would listen about Christ.

Dodd loved to cook for groups as they gathered in the beauty and serenity of the woods and babbling brook. Of course, Dodd always made sure he got to ?share the message? with visitors there.

In 1994 and 1995, a group of men from West Burlington Christian Church known as the ?Crazy Eight Christian?s Men?s Association? wanted to pay back the kindness that Dodd had shown them when inviting them to family picnics, camp and enjoying his 55 acres in the woods. They decided to build this little chapel, located on a small, sunny spot along the side of a trail in the middle of the woods.

The group of men included Steve Ita, Tim Ita, Dave Bell, Dennis Ostrander and others who pitched in with their saws and hammers to build a legacy for all to enjoy. The stained glass window was rescued from a Gothic home in Eldon. The pews are from a church in Burlington that was torn down.

The first wedding in the Little Chapel in the Woods was June 16, 1999, when Pastor Harry Hollingsworth officiated the marriage of Andy and Cindy Grothe, of Danville.

Today, the chapel can still be reserved for small weddings.

The public is invited this weekend to the chapel?s grand opening and restoration.