When it comes to religious and ceremonial events, Princeton area students and faculty head to the University Chapel. The 1928-built chapel serves as the setting for the University’s official opening and closing ceremonies as well as other musical and thanksgiving services and concerts held throughout the year. Every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., individuals of all religions are invited to this beautiful and sacred oasis in the heart of campus for the purposes of prayer and meditation.
The Princeton University Chapel’s majestic arches have beckoned many visitors seeking faith, tranquility, inspiration, challenge, and courage inside. A site of beauty, art, and faithful proclamation, it is one of the largest university chapels in the world and a blessing to the University and its neighbors. The same group that gathered in 1746 to pray for a Spirit and then set out to serve humanity by founding Princeton University meets every Sunday morning to do it again.
When it was founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, Princeton University moved from the parsonage of the Presbyterian Church of Elizabethan to the parsonage of the Presbyterian Church of Newark. When Princeton University first opened in 1756, the chapel was in what is now known as the Faculty Room in Nassau Hall. This setup remained in place until 1847, when a new structure was built in East Pyne’s place. The number of first-year students had doubled at the end of the Civil War, necessitating construction of a new chapel.
Today, the Chapel serves as the setting for a wide variety of events, including weddings, memorial services, concerts, services of music, thanksgiving, and penitence, all of which benefit from the Chapel’s magnificent beauty and charm. The campus community and alumni who have passed away over the year are honored at an annual Service of Remembrance. The Mander-Skinner organ is a wonderful addition to the University’s great 70-voice choir, as well as various concerts and events. It is also used for several non-religious gatherings each year. The dean and associate dean of Religious Life host an ecumenical service every Sunday at 11:00 am and 10.00 am during the summer, in addition to the different religious services performed throughout the week.
Students from Princeton University serve as chapel deacons, supporting the deans in leading the weekly worship service. The deans are joined throughout the year by a variety of nationally known guest preachers. Everyone at Princeton University is invited to attend, as well as residents of Princeton and guests in the area. The Chapel serves as a meeting place for students, faculty, and staff from all over campus.