St. John's Chapel
St. John's Chapel is a simple and intimate worship space. It was built in the early 1950's to replace a previous building dating back to the 1860's. The chapel is collegiate in style, meaning that the pews face one another across the space, rather than facing the front of the building. Facing east, the stained-glass window bathes the church in natural light. The Chapel can seat up to 140 persons, including the balcony.
St. John’s Chapel at Huron is located right next to the memorial tower entrance on Western Road. The chapel is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and available to the entire Huron community as a calm, quiet space for prayer, reflection, and meditation.
Reflection: Why a chapel in a post-post-modern secular liberal arts university?
I am increasingly convinced that the contemporary university is ideally suited to contribute to the world’s most urgent crises by developing not only minds but hearts. If I am right, the university must take the task of ‘character building’ seriously: a task that involves the heart as well as the head.
We know that political leaders throughout the world have all been educated in ‘critical thinking’ by the best universities in the world. The U.S. National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking defines critical thinking as the “intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as guide to belief and action.” Tremendous. But is this type of ‘reasoning’ enough to save the world?
It is clear that in the university classrooms our minds must be open to have our cherished notions of truth shattered in order to receive truth in new and deeper ways. But might it not also be the case that in the university chapel our hearts equally must be open to have our cherished notions of love shattered to understand love in new, refreshing, and deeper ways?
The Chapel at Huron is for all students of all faiths or none: recently in the Chapel there has been a Diwali liturgy of lights, a multi-faith Remembrance Day Observance, and an enthusiastic local Indie Band of agnostic temperament.
But to honour the Anglican heritage of our University and Chapel, during term there is an Anglican Service of Holy Communion each Sunday morning at 11 AM.
The small, informal, fun, creative choir is led by three upper-year students, and the worship lasts less than one hour.
All students of Huron, Western, King’s, and Brescia are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM!
Compline has become symbolic of our vision of creating global citizens at Huron. It is a gentle form of Christian worship that has become meaningful to students of all cultural, religious, and spiritual traditions. It is universally popular among the diverse demographic of students at Cambridge and Oxford Colleges in England (agnostic and atheist students are included in those who enjoy Compline). It’s simple form has not changed since the fifth century. It embraces ancient and universal approaches to chant that will be familiar to students of all traditions. Once a month. 9.30 PM. In the chapel.
I shall encourage Chinese students to attend Compline, many of whom know very little about religion and some of whom have never been in a ‘chapel’ before.
I shall encourage Indian students to attend Compline: of Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Jain, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic traditions.
I shall encourage the Jewish students to attend Compline: the cross will be removed to welcome their presence.
I shall encourage Muslim students to attend Compline: the cross removed, and in the darkness religious symbols are not prominent.
I shall encourage all students to attend Chinese cultural events. NOT because they are interesting in themselves, but because we ought to do so.
I shall encourage all students to attend Diwali and other events highlighting Hindu and cultural India events, because we ought to.
I shall encourage all students to join the Jewish community whenever the invitation and welcome is offered, because we ought to.
I shall encourage students to attend local mosques for Friday Prayers and to attend all Muslim student events open to all, because we ought to.
On 27 Oct 2018 while Shabbat morning services were being held at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the squirrel Hill neighbourhood of Pittsburgh eleven people were killed and seven were injured in the deadliest attack ever on the Jewish community in the United States. On 2 November 2018 militants ambushed three buses carrying Christian pilgrims returning from a remote Coptic Christian monastery and opened fire killing thirteen and wounding another eighteen. On Easter Sunday 2019 three churches across Sri Lanka and three luxury hotels in the commercial capital Colombo were bombed. At least two hundred and fifty-three people were killed, and at least five hundred injured. On 15 March 2019 fifty-one persons were killed and forty injured when a gunman attacked two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand.
We must get out of our comfort zones to take steps toward each other to learn to respect traditions other than our own. Is there anything more shallow and ridiculous than to wait for a tragedy or massacre, then to join others for the following two weeks with pious words and media-driven promises of embrace, but quickly to sink back into our own inward looking communities?
We have a perfect opportunity at Huron to become an authentic community of hope for our world by practicing reverence for the core values of others, and thus helping one another become true global citizens.
Not in word only. But in truth and deed.
St. John’s Chapel is a collegiate chapel in the Diocese of Huron in the Anglican Church of Canada. All are most welcome to participate in the worship of this community. The Anglican Church of Canada welcomes all people, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, identity, or background. The Anglican Church of Canada’s mission statement is available here. St. John’s Chapel and the clergy of Huron are available for baptisms, weddings, funerals, reconciliation (confession), anointing, and all other rites of the Church. If you are interested in any of these please contact Gary Thorne.
Events in St. John's Chapel
St. John’s Chapel is a beautiful space with a very fine acoustic and has been used as a venue for small concerts, lectures, and as a set for photography and film.
Remember whatever faith or spiritual tradition we profess (or none at all) the chapel is a safe and peaceful space for reflection, refreshment and rest, particularly at stressful times such as essay deadlines and exams.
Our wonderfully diverse community at Huron gives each one of us an opportunity to accept and embrace others who are of a different faith affiliation, spiritual tradition, or non-transcendent humanist commitment. I hope that the chapel can become a place where students of all backgrounds can gather for celebrations of faith and to enjoy cultural and musical events.
In addition to the multi-faith aspirations of our chapel, to honour the legacy of our University at 11 AM on Sunday mornings in term a small student choir leads in an Anglican worship in which all Christian students are invited to participate, and non-Christians are also welcome to attend.
Organ Scholar Program
In place since 2006, the organ scholar program at Huron provides participants the opportunity to learn to play the organ. Scholars are provided organ lessons at no cost to themselves, practice time, and an honorarium for playing the Sunday worship service. This program supports organ scholars who wish to pursue diplomas or other accreditation in church music and organ performance.
In 1951, a two-manual and pedal organ was installed by Casavant Frères. After decades of constant use, the organ was fully renovated including a small expansion of new pipe ranks and new console in 2006 by Pole and Kingham Ltd.