In 1991, the Evergreen Chapel was dedicated by President George H.W. Bush. It was built using funds raised by a nonprofit corporation formed by Kenneth Plummer, president of the National Lay Leaders Association of the United Methodist Church.
The Wagner Roofing website acknowledges the role that their founder's wife Evelyn Murray played in the construction of the Evergreen Chapel:
"Evelyn was instrumental in the fundraising for the beautiful non-denominational Chapel constructed at Camp David during the Reagan Administration. Evelyn delights in relating the history of the Chapel, discussing its design and recalling the marvelous dedication ceremony that she was able to attend. She even owns some of the stained glass used in the Chapel. "
created by Rudolph Sandon, an Italian immigrant who came to the U.S. after World War II and wanted to donate the windows "because America had been good to him".
The window on the side of the chapel where the President sits is the "Tree of Knowledge" and includes the presidential seal, a dove, a sheaf of wheat, and other symbols. On the opposite side of the chapel is the "Tree of Life". The symbols were designed to be open to interpretation by people of varying faiths.
|The Tree of Knowledge (Rudolph Sandon)|
|The Tree of Life (Rudolph Sandon)|
|Kenneth Plummer, Rudolph Sandon, President and Mrs. Bush on the day of the dedication. (4/21/1991)|
Additional details about the history, architecture and windows of the chapel can be found in this Evergreen Chapel pamphlet.
|Architectural drawing of the Camp David Chapel|
The chapel bell is from the USS Endicott, a Navy destroyer launched around the same time that President Roosevelt established Camp David (which he originally named "Shangri-La").
The pipe organ has two keyboards and 827 pipes ranging in size from 6 inches to 20 feet tall. The organ was built by the Moller Pipe Organ Company of Hagerstown, MD. The chapel also has a Yamaha grand piano. You can read more about the Camp David organ in the Pipe Organ Database.
|President Bush at the dedication service of the new Camp David chapel - April 1991|
The Evergreen Chapel holds two weekly Sunday services. The 8AM Catholic mass is performed by contract priests from Mount Saint Mary's University. The Protestant service follows at 10 AM and is performed by the Camp David chaplain. The chapel is open to the 400 military personnel serving at Camp David along with their families. On average, around 50-70 people are in attendance.
first wedding ceremony was performed at the chapel when Dorothy Bush LeBlond exchanged vows with Bobby Koch.
President Clinton wrote in his autobiography about his last trip to Camp David :
"Don Henley gave us a wonderful solo concert after dinner in the Camp David Chapel. The next morning was our family's last service in the beautiful chapel, where we had shared many services with the fine young sailors and marines who staffed the camp and their families.
They had even let me sing with the choir, always leaving the sheet music in Aspen, our family cabin, on Friday or Saturday so that I could review it in advance."
President George W. Bush and his family attended the Christmas Eve candlelight service at Evergreen Chapel for all eight years of his administration.
|The Bush family at an Easter service at the Evergreen Chapel in 2006|
|President Bush greets military personnel outside the Evergreen Chapel - April 2006|
According to press secretary Robert Gibbs at a White House briefing in December 2009, President Obama has attended church fairly regularly up at Camp David where "he's comfortable in and has enjoyed attending."
11/25/2013 Update: Camp David is seeking a new music director for the Evergreen Chapel
|View of Evergreen Chapel from the road|
|Close-up of the stained glass window inside Evergreen Chapel|
|Google Maps Earth view of Evergreen Chapel at Camp David|
Sources: The President is at Camp David; My Life: The Presidential Years; Camp David Tour; George Bush Presidential Library; The White House; US Navy; www.mongiello.org; GPO; Peabody Institute; Google Maps; @SylviaCarignan; The Times Leader; Barbara Sandon Norris