Faith Chapel: Pay to Pray Controversy
The proposal by JIA staff to charge a $5.00 fee for adults (16 years or older) to visit Faith Chapel was on the JIA board agenda January 19th. A presentation on this issue was made by Bruce Piatek, Director of Historic Preservation and Jones Hooks, Executive Director of the JIA. About 150 people were in attendance and more than a dozen people expressed great concern over what has become to be known as "pay to pray" on Jekyll Island.
The Faith Chapel issue was made public on January 7th in Jekyll's Golden Islander by a letter to the editor signed by former Faith Chapel docents and concerned citizens. After the January 13 Atlanta Journal-Consitution article ("New visitors fee for Jekyll chapel spurs accusations of ‘pay to pray’") by Dan Chapman and a letter by the Reverend Greg Lowery in the Christian Index, the JIA revised their earlier plan to include the Chapel being open two hours, from 8:00 to 10:00 in the morning, free of charge. This change did not satisfy the public who continued to insist that the Chapel should be free of charge.
It was distressing to many in attendance that not one JIA board member asked a question, or gave an opinion about the three decade old policy of a free Faith Chapel.
More media coverage of the 'pay to pray' controversy: