Project Description

Meristem: A Prayer Chapel in Memory of Rob and Rachael Des Cotes

Rob, Ruth and Rachael Des Cotes have been wise and faithful friends of A Rocha Canada. Ruth is one of the longest serving staff as Children’s Environmental Educator. Rob served as a mentor and spiritual director to the burgeoning staff team in BC for many years. Rob and Ruth’s roles grew to include worship leaders and hosts at Brooksdale’s guest house where they lived, and where Ruth continues to live. Rachael, beloved daughter of Rob and Ruth, was a volunteer, staff and promoter of all things A Rocha.

When Rob passed away in 2016 he left a legacy of spiritual wisdom and joy rooted in Christ. In his last weeks, he communicated a desire for a chapel to be built at the A Rocha Centre to cultivate prayer and solitude. When asked what this chapel should be called, he responded without hesitation, “Meristem.” Prayer, he went on to explain, is the meristem for the transformational experience of God’s love in our lives.

Rachael brought a sense of fun and love into this life. She came alongside young and old with care and a humor-filled zest for life. Before Rachael passed on February 9, 2019, she requested that donations be made to A Rocha in her memory and in honour of her dad who she missed so much, and with whom she is now present.

With your participation, A Rocha will fulfill Rob’s vision for a prayer chapel — a space in which an outward life working to show God’s love for all creation is rooted in an inner life connected to God in prayer.

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Your tax-deductible gift in memory of Rob and Rachael will make Rob’s dream of a prayer chapel at A Rocha a reality.
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Meristem (definition): the tissue in plants containing undifferentiated cells, making new growth possible.

The Meristem Project Plans:

A 1932 heritage estate, A Rocha’s BC location, Brooksdale Environmental Centre, had an original pump house drawing water from the Little Campbell River for the farm. Abandoned in the 1970’s, and almost derelict, it was identified as a location that was ideal for the following reasons:

  • a short walk from the guest house (which hosts retreats, seminars and events),
  • adjacent to river and trails;
  • a good size (120 sq ft.);
  • a topographical location that was beautiful, quiet and conducive to solitude.

A former A Rocha intern and trained architect, Phillip Hurrel, worked with Ruth Des Cotes on a concept for the renovation. With the location and design in hand, volunteers began the preliminary work back in 2017. While removing the needed rot from the pump house, it became evident that the structure needed to be stripped down to foundation, which was done with volunteers.

Construction began in September of 2020. The walls are up and the windows and door are in! Building has paused while volunteers work on interior finishing. The pause also allows for a bit more fundraising before the construction crew returns in February of 2021. The completion date is hopefully forecasted for the spring of 2021.

In-Kind Donations:

$9,250.00: Initial Concept (Phillip Hurrell) & Architectural (MOTIV Architecture)

$9,000: Dimensional Lumber from a film set



$35,000: Construction

$30,000: Materials

$3,000: Foundation repair

$5,000: Hydro upgrade

$2500: Landscape (entry, trail, stairs, lighting)

$2000: Furnishings

$7,75010: Contingency (10%)


Total:  $85,250.00

Raised to date: $52,000.00

Fundraising: 2019 – 2020
Build: Sept. 2020 – April 2021
Dedication Celebration: Stay tuned for a date when it’s Covid safe!


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  • A minimum donation of $10 is required to be issued a tax receipt. 
  • All recurring credit card donations are processed the 15th of the month.

For more information or an opportunity to talk in person about the project, please contact us here.