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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chapel Director: Daniel Moulin email@example.com