The News-Times

June 23, 1997

Young leader gives rise to chapel

By Joseph Spector


BROOKFIELD _ Newtown High School graduate Mike Kareta said Prince of Peace Lutheran Church was built and has prospered from the work of its congregants.

Yesterday, the 18-year-old congregant continued that tradition.

For Kareta's Eagle Scout project, he spent more than a year planning, seeking donations and building an outside chapel for the Route 133 church.

And as the sun faded behind the church yesterday, about 40 of Kareta's fellow church members participated in a dedication ceremony for the open-air chapel, called Still Waters Chapel, which overlooks a section of the Still River.

``It's something a little bit different than sitting inside every Sunday,'' Kareta said of having outdoor services. Kareta, who graduated this month, also said ``it's freaky'' to see his project come to fruition.

``This is a wonderful gift to the church,'' said the Rev. Carole Johannsen, interim pastor of the church, part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Kareta's ``wonderful gift'' was part of a series of activities involved in his quest to become an Eagle Scout, the top Boy Scout honor. His Eagle Scout status recently was approved and the Boy Scouts will honor him this fall.

``Once you're an Eagle Scout, you're an Eagle Scout forever,'' said adult Boy Scout leader Donald Winkley.

Kareta, headed to Texas A&M in the fall, also has given his church a lasting gift. Johannsen said the chapel _ which consists of 10 wooden benches, an altar and a loose gravel floor _ will be used for Wednesday morning services. It sits 62 people.

``He could have picked many projects, but to pick one for the church is something special,'' said Brian Rinelli, adviser for the church's youth group.

The youth group, the church and other Boy Scouts helped with or donated to Kareta's $700 project. But in the end, it was Kareta, a youth group member, who bore the brunt of the labor.

``The point of the project is to show leadership,'' Kareta said. ``I basically had to lead the project and plan it.''


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