Previously announced restoration work at Duke Chapel, scheduled to begin May 11 and to last for about a year, will result in many events and services usually held in the chapel to be hosted elsewhere on campus.
For example, Duke Chapel Christmas Eve services for 2015 are scheduled to be held in Cameron Indoor Stadium. A list of locations for other events during the closure can be found below.
The restoration work, which includes rehabilitating the ceiling and replacing the chapel's original roof, will displace services and events normally held in the chapel nave, the main worship space, beginning the Monday after commencement weekend. The chapel crypt and Memorial Chapel will also be closed.
The chapel basement offices and meeting areas will remain open for normal activities during the restoration year, including meetings of various Religious Life groups.
“I am reminded by this restoration project that we are caretakers of a grand, sacred building that will continue as a place of reflection, worship, prayer and celebration long after we leave,” said the Rev. Luke Powery, dean of the chapel. “We are grateful to our colleagues across campus who are so hospitably offering the use of their spaces throughout the coming year.
“Closing the doors of the building for a time also gives the chapel an opportunity to live as ‘a chapel without walls.’” Powery said. “Just as Jesus broke down the dividing wall between humankind and God, the chapel’s ministry will continue beyond these walls to bridge God’s reconciling love and the people of Duke and Durham.”
Locations during the restoration year for events and services normally held in the chapel are:
- University worship services, 11 a.m. Sundays -- Baldwin Auditorium on East Campus during the summer of 2015 and then Page Auditorium on West Campus during the 2015-16 academic year
- Choral vespers worship services, 5:15 p.m. Thursdays when classes are in session -- Goodson Chapel, Duke Divinity School
- Midweek prayer services, noon Wednesdays when classes are in session -- chapel basement
- Catholic Mass, 9 p.m. Sundays -- Goodson Chapel, Duke Divinity School
Catholic Mass, noon Mondays and Wednesdays -- chapel conference room
- Christmas Eve worship services, Dec. 24, 2015 -- Cameron Indoor Stadium
- Maundy Thursday service, March 24, 2016 -- Goodson Chapel, Duke Divinity School
- Good Friday services, March 25, 2016 -- Page Auditorium
- Easter Day worship services, March 27, 2016 -- sunrise service in Duke Gardens (rain location is Page Auditorium) and 11 a.m. service in Cameron Indoor Stadium
The chapel carillon will continue to be played at most of its customary times: 5 p.m. on weekdays and on Sundays before and after the 11 a.m. worship service.
Some events normally held in the chapel will not occur during the restoration period, including chapel organ recitals and Tuesday evening communion services.
Q: When is Duke Chapel closing?
A: The Chapel nave, the main worship space, will close for about a year begining May 11, 2015.
Q: Why is Duke Chapel closing?
A: In 2012, a small piece of tile fell from the Chapel ceiling. The building was then closed for the brief period of time it took the team of structural engineers, materials scientists, and architects from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE) to remove the pews, set up scaffolding, and survey and stabilize the ceiling. The report from WJE recommended that the University complete additional restoration work to address issues stemming from original 1932 construction techniques. WJE, whose current projects include restoration of the Washington Monument and National Cathedral necessitated by the 2011 earthquake, have designed the restoration work required to preserve and maintain the beauty and use of the Chapel building for future generations.
Q: What work is being done?
A: The restoration project will rehabilitate the ceiling, replace the roof, restore several stained glass windows and much of the woodwork, and clean the floors and walls.
Q: When will the Chapel reopen?
A: The Chapel nave will reopen in the spring of 2016.
Q: Why can't the Chapel stay open as the National Cathedral has during its restoration?
A: Everything that can be removed from the Chapel nave must be removed (including the pews!). Mortar drilling and replacement will produce dust that could damage the finer instruments of the Chapel (the organs must be sealed). After the repairs, the entire nave must be thoroughly dusted before the interior furnishings can be restored and cleaned.
Q: Where will Sunday Worship Services take place?
A: Sunday morning worship services will be held in Baldwin Auditorium on East Campus during the summer of 2015 and then Page Auditorium on West Campus during the 2015-16 academic year.
Q: Will the Chapel's services, concerts, ministries, etc. continue during the restoration work?
A: The Chapel's mission and ministry will continue regardless of restoration work. The Chapel staff and Religious Life offices in the basement of the building will remain open during the restoration project. The Chapel website's events/calendar page will contain location updates for various events.
Q: Will events and services still be streamed online?
A: Yes, the Chapel’s Media Ministry will continue during the closure.
Q: Where will Duke weddings take place during the closure?
A: Weddings will not be offered by the Chapel during the closure; however, the University will give special preference to Duke affiliates for weddings at the Washinton Duke Inn and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens during the restoration project. Beginning in the summer of 2015, the Chapel Wedding Coordinator will begin accepting reservations for ceremonies in the Chapel in the summer of 2016. As always, these sign-ups will take place one year in advance of the wedding month (for example, July 2016 reservations will be accepted starting July 1, 2015 at 8:30 a.m.).
*Please note: Goodson Chapel, in the Divinity School, is reserved exclusively for the ministries of teaching and worship, and thus, will not be made available for weddings during Duke Chapel's closure. No exceptions may be made to this policy.
Q: Where will Duke funerals take place during the closure?
A: Duke Chapel is diligently working with the University to determine the best location for funerals as needed.
Visit this page or sign up for event emails for updates.
Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919.681.9488 with pressing questions or concerns.
More information on restoration and closure projects across Duke's campus is available at the Duke construction website.