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APRIL 11, 2015
The Sea Ranch, California
as part of
The Sea Ranch 50th Birthday Program of Events

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Chapel Forum Audio Files:

Part One

Part Two

Forum Panelists

James Hubbell - Designer, Don Jacobs - Coordinating Architect, Bruce Johnson - Wood Sculptor
Thamby Kumaran - General Contractor, Dennis Roderick - Stonemason, Dick Warmer - Moderator

The Sea Ranch Chapel offers a nondenominational refuge for meditation and spiritual renewal. At the Dedication Ceremony in December 1985, designer James Hubbell described his design concept as "coming about in an effort to express in a building this windswept coast in forms of earth, sea, and flight."

The chapel is dedicated to the memory of Kirk Ditzler, son of Sea Ranchers Pat and Lyle Ditzler, an artist and naturalist who died in 1982 at age 38. James Hubbell studied Kirk's drawings, and the soaring lines of the chapel are reminiscent of some of his art.

The chapel is truly a distinctive creation. Don Jacobs, Coordinating Architect for the project, has explained: "For those who are curious as to why it doesn't look like other Sea Ranch buildings, keep in mind that no other Sea Ranch building serves the same purpose as the Chapel. It is a unique building for a unique and special use."

Sea Ranchers Robert and Betty Buffum donated the land and Chapel to The Sea Ranch Association and created an endowment fund for its maintenance and upkeep. Association member dues do not provide any support for this purpose. After exposure to 30 years of north coast weather, the chapel roof was recently replaced in a painstaking and expensive process. Other needed renovations to the building are pending. The endowment fund is thus in need of replenishment.

For more information, visit www.TheSeaRanchChapel.org


By James T. Hubbell

To begin to conceive the chapel I went first to the land, the meadow and pine

forest the chapel was to share. Early in the process a chance stay with Pat and

Lyle Ditzler at Sea Ranch made me acquainted with the sensitive drawings of their

son Kirk, a young pilot who had lived and recently died at Sea Ranch. The tender

rendering of feathers, shells and bones were images that would not leave me, they

seemed so much a part of this windswept coast. It was through them that a glimpse

of the direction that the chapel was seeking came about . . . somehow a form of

earth, sea and flight.

The growth of the chapel was carried forward unfailingly by the sponsors,

Betty and Robert Buffum, and many friends and colleagues. The contractor and

workmen were so good and caring that it would be hard to imagine a more sensitive.

I have heard it said that Religion at its heart is Trust, trust in the unknown

and in surprise. And that trust begins by being grateful. To me, the Sea Ranch

chapel is about this . . . the land, the trees, the coast, the rain and sun, the deer and

eagles, people and friends. The chapel is a way of saying, "I trust. I am a part of this

big world." It is my hope that the chapel will serve the community as an open door,

and individuals in finding their own song.

Statement prepared for the dedication of The Sea Ranch Chapel, December 8, 1985

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