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About 100 people attend a Memorial Day observance at the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge. (MEGHAN PIERCE/Union Leader Correspondent)

Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge expands its mission

RINDGE — As the Cathedral of the Pines approaches its 70th anniversary next year the war memorial is working to expand its mission to include recreational and cultural events.“We want to be more than just a cathedral, in a sense, which is a place to worship,” said Robert Schaumann, a member of the Cathedral of the Pines Board of Trustees.Last week about 100 people gathered in the outdoor cathedral sanctuary for a Memorial Day observance.

The sanctuary that has views of Mount Monadnock also hosts religious services, weddings and funerals.

The cathedral has a cemetery, a Zen garden and several smaller outdoor chapels including the Mother’s Chapel and the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, where the annual blessing of the animals takes place.

“We’re non-denominational. All faiths are welcome,” Schaumann said.

The national war memorial has always been popular with World War II veterans and that generation, said Donald Upton, Chairman of the Cathedral of the Pines Board of Trustees.

There’s a strong association with World War II, but that generation is aging, Upton said, so it is important for people to understand that the Cathedral of the Pines is not just for World War II.

The grounds offer a peaceful and reflective setting for people to walk and includes memorials to visit such as the Women’s Memorial Bell Tower, which was the first memorial in our nation to solely recognize women who served, fought and sacrificed for America, Schumann said.

The bell tower includes bronze tablets depicting women serving, designed by Norman Rockwell and sculpted by his son Peter Rockwell.

“We want people to recognize we have a real jewel here,” Schumann said.

To become more recreation friendly dogs are now welcome at the Cathedral. Dog owners are asked to pick up after their pets.

The Cathedral also has a new hiking trail and has just received a $5,000 grant to expand the hiking trail to the regional network of trails.

An Inaugural 10K Trail Run and 5K Run/Walk is planned for Set. 27.

The cathedral also hopes to become a center for cultural events.

Last year Monadnock Music closed their concert season with an outdoor concert at the cathedral and a fire work show. It was big hit, Schumann said. “It was just so well accepted.”

Monadnock Music plan to return the summer of 2015 for another concert so this summer a family friendly Bluegrass concert is planned for July 13.

Blue Grass at the Pine is set to start at noon July 13. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 that day.

“The emphasis is come on out, bring the family and have a picnic,” Schumann said.

Then in August, the Jaffrey-based youth program Project Shakespeare plans to present “Taming of the Shrew” on Aug. 1 and “Hamlet” on Aug. 2.

Sibyl and Douglas Sloane III originally purchased 128 acres in Rindge in 1937 planning to have their four children build homes on the land eventually.

Then in 1944, their son Sanderson “Sandy” Sloane, who was serving in the Army Air Corps, was shot down over Germany.

In 1945, the community gathered for a memorial service in the clearing overlooking Mount Monadnock, which is now the cathedral sanctuary and where Sanderson Sloane had planned to build his home.

In the years that followed, the family welcomed all faiths to the outdoor cathedral and built a memorial to their son.

In 1957, Congress recognized Cathedral of the Pines as a national memorial to all American war dead.

Today it continues to honor all Americans who serve the nation.

The cathedral is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no admission charge, donations are accepted.

Calendar events are listed online at