Churchill Downs, located in Louisville, is the home of the famous Kentucky Derby. The historic track is also home to a year-round, interdenominational ministry for race track workers. Much of the ministry's work is focused on the "backside" of Churchill Downs where the race horses are stabled. On the backside you'll find a dormitory for workers, a dining hall, learning center, recreation center and other services designed to support track workers. Significant progress was made toward meeting workers' needs with the opening in June 2006 of Christ Chapel, tucked among the barns on the backside. Churchill Downs donated the land for the Chapel. Its construction was completely funded by donations from the community. In 2006 we were pleased to start a Women and Children’s Ministry which has grown from just one person to two staff members, one serving each, the women and the children.
Erica Williamson, Children’s Ministry Director (Christ Chapel)
Chaplain Joseph Del Rosario
Joseph serves as the Chaplain for Churchill Downs. He seeks to show the love of Jesus Christ to the horsemen by taking care of their physical and spiritual needs. Prior to serving in this capacity, Joseph served as a church planter and elder-pastor of a Nepalese church plant. Though born in New York, he was raised in Florida to a mother from Puerto Rico and a father from Peru. He attended the University of South Florida, where he grew in his passion to show and share the love and compassion of God through Jesus Christ as he became involved in and served with Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru). Joseph also attended Southern Seminary where he obtained his Master of Divinity with a concentration in Biblical Counseling. Joseph is an avid amateur landscaper and loves to cheer against the Lead Chaplain's favorite baseball team!
The Chaplaincy relies on volunteers and donations to support its good work. The annual "Race for Grace" event is also an important source of ongoing financial support for the chaplains' outreach and ministry. This fundraising dinner—held every year the Monday evening before the Kentucky Derby—is supported by retired Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, who is actively involved in the chaplaincy's work.