The Chapel in brief

When Somerville opened in 1879, it was founded as  ‘undenominational.’ There were to be no religious tests for admission and it had no religious affiliation. Undenominational Christian prayers were said in  College informally from the outset, and from 1912, in the Dining Hall. In  1935 the Chapel was opened, following a generous donation from a former student, Emily Georgiana Kemp. Kemp was an adventurer, writer and artist, and  came from a wealthy Baptist family. Through her extensive travels she had  developed an interest in the world’s religions and a wide, inclusive vision  of Christianity. It was her desire that the Chapel, although ostensibly a Christian place of worship, would be a place where members of all religions   could pray. The Greek inscription on the outside of the Chapel translates as   ‘A House of Prayer for all Peoples.’ This is a verse from the Book of Isaiah, which is referred to by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. True to its undenominational foundation, the College does not have a Chaplain, but a ‘Chapel Director’ who arranges events and services in the Chapel to suit a broad range of tastes and religious perspectives under the guidance of other students. For more information, or to get involved, contact the Chapel  Director. The Chapel is open to members of Somerville College at all times for private prayer, meditation or reflection.

Somerville College Chapel Student Group

James de Mars and Lena Naassana (Christian Union Representatives);George O’Shea (Roman Catholic Representative); Fiona Gatty (Mature Student Representative); Martha-Violet Mends (JCR); and Jo Holland (MCR).

We are looking for students to join the Student Group; if you are interested, please contact the Chapel Director.

Organ Scholars: Douglas Knight and Robert Smith

Music Director: David Crown

Chapel Director: Daniel Moulin

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