At the request of John D. Rockefeller, the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel was designed to be the 'central and dominant feature' of the University of Chicago campus, in accordance with his confidence in the integration of faith and learning.
Although that relationship between learning and faith has changed considerably since the chapel was completed in 1928, it continues to be a place 'that seeks to articulate creatively the contribution that religious life and wonder can make in a diverse community of learning.' Today, the chapel endeavors to meet the ongoing needs of the University community through worship, study groups, performance of sacred music, lectures, travel/study seminars, as well as community service.
Described as one of the most visually impressive buildings at the University, the chapel occupies a full block on the southern edge of the campus and seats 1,700.
University Ecumenical Services are held Sundays at 11 am while the University is in session.
One of the unique features of the chapel is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon. Given to the University by John D. Rockefeller in 1932 in memory of his mother, the University's carillon consists of 72 cast bronze cup-shaped bells and is the second largest such instrument in the world.
During the academic year, the carillon is played Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm and on Sundays at noon. It also can be heard at special events. Hour-long recitals are performed select Sunday evenings during the summer, which attract carillonneurs from the United States and Europe to the free performances.
Recommended listening spots are the cloister of Ida Noyes Hall, the grassy area at the corner of 58th Street and Woodlawn Avenue, as well as the lawn area immediately surrounding the chapel.
A portion of the bells are rung from 9:00 am to 10:45 pm to signal the hour.
Tours of the bell tower can be arranged for groups of six or more by calling the University Carillonneur at (773) 702-2100.
The chapel is quite popular for weddings. Only couples with a tie to the University of Chicago can hold their wedding ceremony at the chapel on Saturdays from early June through Labor Day. Couples who do not qualify as having a University of Chicago connection can only use the chapel on Sundays. The chapel has no facilities for receptions. For further information, call the wedding coordinator at (773) 702-9202.
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