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Chapel House Vision Statement

Chapel House has released a vision statement following a systematic review of comments, letters, e-mails, and feedback from several fora.

Update: April 27, 2015

Dear Students, Faculty, Guests and Friends of Chapel House:

Please find below the new Chapel House Vision Statement. This was arrived at after a systematic review of all your comments, letters, e-mails, and the four fora we had on the future of Chapel House. The statement has also been approved by Colgate Administrative leaders. I believe we have a vision that is based on the Deed of Gift, congruent with the legacy built by past directors, and able to guide Chapel House policies, programs, and activities in the future.

As you know, we will be undergoing a renovation to the building in the next year. Most of the work will be focused on upgrading the mechanical systems and the external envelop of the building as well as making the building fully accessible to people with disabilities. The renovation will be guided both by the new vision statement and by a commitment to preserving the unique modernist architecture of the building. When an architect is chosen and has produced plans for the renovation we will be holding an open forum for input from Colgate and the Chapel House communities. But let me assure you now that no radical changes to the building are being planned.

As some of you know, we are temporarily understaffed. We appreciate your patience while we make arrangements in order to resume full operations. In the meantime, we are currently able to welcome guests on the weekends and most weekdays; and I anticipate being fully open for all days in the summer months. To make reservations please e-mail Clara Lantz at or call her at 315-228-7675.

I want to thank all of you for your comments, concerns, and clear affection for Chapel House. I believe the conversations on our vision statement were very productive in clarifying what is essential to Chapel House as we imagine its future.

Best Wishes,
Steven Kepnes

Vision Statement

Chapel House, a place of retreat nestled in the woods of Colgate University, welcomes students, faculty, staff, and visitors from all parts of the world and all religious traditions or none. Chapel House provides a home for quiet reflection, religious and spiritual discovery, and the exploration of nature. The house is a place of individual contemplation as well as a place of interreligious understanding for small groups.

Chapel House encourages personal, religious, spiritual, and humanistic quests. The house provides a quiet setting for meditation, prayer, and study, as well as a venue for the appreciation of religious art and music. All visitors and overnight guests are welcome to explore Chapel House’s extensive library, its numerous artifacts from many religious traditions, and its large collection of sacred music. The house is separated from the main Colgate campus, to allow individuals a quiet retreat from daily life, for purposes of reflection, personal healing, and contemplation. Chapel House aims to be an oasis of peace and healing for individuals, Colgate University, and the world.

Original Mission Statement

From the 1958 anonymous Deed of Gift:

Chapel House was founded in 1958, to serve, in the words of the donor, as a:
“Meditation Center . . . to encourage personal religious devotions through meditation, prayer, and study of devotional literature and religious art and music, and such other appropriate means as may be devised to help people to recognize their need for personal religious disciplines […] a place of devotion, a place of retreat to which people will retire for a time when they wish to be alone to face personal difficulties, to renew their faith, or to seek for deeper religious understanding and devotion. It is hoped that the Center will be used by the students and faculty of Colgate and neighboring universities, by ministers, priests and rabbis, by theological students, and by laymen regardless of the nature of their daily work or religious affiliation. Religious leaders of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and Hindu swamis, Buddhist bhikkus and priests, and scholars and laymen of all the religions of the world will find themselves welcome at the Center and will be able to make their own contributions to the life of the Center and of the University. It is hoped that the Center will serve as a place for seeking deeper religious insight by people of all faiths, and by those who acknowledge no religious faith.”