Apr 29, 2024 - News

"Cupcake chapel" part of Phoenix Christian's plans for a new school

A cupcake shaped building topped by three crosses.

The "cupcake chapel" at the site of the former Asbury United Methodist Church in Phoenix, which is now owned by Phoenix Christian Preparatory School. Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

Phoenix Christian Preparatory School has big plans for the former Asbury United Methodist Church, including its iconic "cupcake chapel."

Catch up quick: Asbury United Methodist Church built the chapel in 1967, according to a 2002 article in the Arizona Republic.

  • It's probably best-known as the "cupcake chapel" but has also been likened to a rose, an acorn or the Imperial Margarine logo.
  • Phoenix Christian Preparatory School bought the property in 2017 and currently leases the facilities to the Maranatha Ethiopian and Eritrean Church, which uses the building as a youth sanctuary, superintendent Jeff Blake told Axios.

The latest: Phoenix Christian now plans to convert the old Asbury complex into a new preschool and elementary school campus because its current facilities are at capacity.

  • The chapel would be converted into a student reading room that'll be adjacent to a new library, Blake said.
  • It's unclear how many of the other buildings would be preserved but Blake said they'd keep the old sanctuary, and possibly some others.

Context: The school was founded in 1902 and has been at its current site since 1949. It's committed to maintaining the historic buildings that give central Phoenix its beauty and charm, Blake said.

Zoom in: Phoenix Christian initially thought about tearing down the chapel but decided against it because the building is so beloved.

  • "We really see opportunity in there. It's such a unique building," Blake said.

What's next: Blake said the school needs to raise about $15 million for the project, which they hope to complete in five to eight years.

  • For now, his more immediate plans are to paint the faded crosses atop the "cupcake" this summer.
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