Visit the World’s Only Precious Moments Chapel, Carthage, Missouri

Precious Moments Chapel

If you’re a fan of those adorable teardrop-eyed Precious Moments children, you will love the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, Missouri. After years of wanting to visit it, we finally did. You know how sometimes when you expect big things and then you get there and it’s a letdown? It was the opposite with the Precious Moments Chapel, the only such chapel in the world. I expected a small building with a few cute Precious Moments figurines and paintings. Instead, I found awesomeness in the true sense of the word. Huge paintings and murals cover the chapter walls. And the property covers acres of land, in a serene setting of hills and woods.

Precious Moments History

The chapel is the work of artist Sam Butcher. In 1975, Sam and a partner began producing greeting cards and posters with the now-recognizable children. They started marketing the porcelain figurines in 1978.

Sam longed for a serene place with trees, someplace with hills and a stream. He came across the property in Carthage. Construction on the chapel began in 1985, Mr. Butcher’s gift of gratitude to the Lord.

The Precious Moments Chapel

We entered the property through the visitor center. Since we visited in December, we found the Chapel decorated for Christmas. But even without the extra decorations, the center resembles a fairyland.

We had arrived there late in the afternoon, after the cafe and ice cream shop closed, so we didn’t get a treat to eat. Instead we strolled down the pathway to the chapel. Once inside, I discovered a treat for the eyes and the soul.

The 35-foot high ceiling is painted as a sky filled with angels.

Precious Moments Chapel ceiling

Paintings, all featuring children created in the Precious Moments style, cover the walls, every one of them with meaning.

Take the Tour

I recommend the free 20-minute tour. Your guide will point out the meanings of all of the paintings. They range from the “Creation Story” and a “Tribute to the Arts” to stories from the Old Testament and scenes from the “Life of Jesus.”


The masterpiece mural, titled “Hallelujah Square,” covers the front wall. This is the wall you see as you enter the chapel. Sam has added to the painting several times. Each of the children in the painting represents someone who touched Mr. Butcher’s life. Some are relatives; others are children he never met in person but who he knew through letters sent to him.

Most of the people depicted in the mural are deceased, but there are a few still living, including his brother and himself. After he painted his mother, he signed the mural and said he will add no more to it.

Whether the people in the picture represent children or adults, all are depicted as children, except for Jesus, who appears at center of the mural.

Beyond the Chapel

Besides the large chapel room, there are other areas to explore. Phillip’s Room, dedicated to Mr. Butcher’s son who was killed in a car accident, has several pews where you can sit and pray or reflect.

Philip's Room

Throughout the building, dioramas and displays feature Precious Moments figures. The stained glass windows also feature Precious Moments figures. Sam Butcher designed the windows himself.

Stained glass windows in the Precious Moments Chapel

Outside you can stroll the beautifully landscaped grounds. A deck overlooks Grandpa’s Island, an island in the stream on which Mr. Butcher built a playhouse for his grandchildren.

Grandpas Island on the Precious Moments grounds

Mr. Butcher now spends most of his time in the Philippines, although he still returns to Carthage now and then and often touches up paintings during his visits. In 2014, at age 75, Sam Butcher repainted part of the chapel ceiling. He wasn’t happy with the gloomy look of dark clouds around the edges, so he repainted them in purple while lying on his back 35 feet in the air on scaffolding.

A museum on the grounds of the chapel, which is open seasonally, was closed during our visit so we didn’t get to see it. Returning through the visitor center, you may want to browse the world’s largest Precious Moments gift shop, as well, especially if you or a loved one is a collector.

If You Go…

The Precious Moments Chapel, located at 4321 S Chapel Road in Carthage, Missouri, is open year-round except on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. However, the museum is seasonal, and hours vary. Check the website for the exact schedule.

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2 thoughts on “Visit the World’s Only Precious Moments Chapel, Carthage, Missouri

  • February 5, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    Hi I was wondering how do we look to see if you have a piece weare looking for? Looking for the piece that came out right before Christmas it was the red pick up truck? Thank you

    • March 16, 2021 at 9:57 am

      Hi Mellody,
      Since is not affiliated with Precious Moments, the best way to find out what they have is to contact them directly at 1-800-543-7975 or


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