The Mount Allison Chapel is a symbol of the commitment of the University to being more than just a centre for acquiring knowledge — it is a place which encourages individuals to grow as whole human beings.
Built in 1964 through the generous gifts
of alumni and supporters of the University, the Chapel is maintained by a
full-time University chaplain.
The University Chapel is not a commissioned or sanctified church building. A chapel, by definition, is the site of religious activity in connection with a larger institution or organization (university, prison, hospital etc.)
The Mount Allison Chapel is home to denominationally-inclusive religious observances during term time, is occasionally used for specific rites such as funerals and weddings, and is the site of special events and activities which may or may not be of a religious nature: prayer vigils, musical events and concerts, public lectures, and coffeehouses, for example. Various groups use the multi-purpose meeting area in the basement, including a theatre studies group, the gay-lesbian support group, and local clergy fellowship.
The sanctuary is built on a equilateral cruciform plan, giving a sense of squareness rather than the usual elongated nave that separates people at the back from the liturgical activity at the front.
The red sandstone walls with their
textured horizontal lines are in marked contrast to the main wall at the
front, made of smooth grey granite cut in long vertical sections. The
overall effect of texture, shape, and light are designed to bring the
visitor to the Chapel looking forwards and up.
Acoustically, the Chapel is pure and resonant. A frequently-used site for concerts, the shape of the Chapel brings the audience into closer proximity with the performers.
A quiet place in the midst of a busy
campus, the University Chapel is, among many other things, a refuge and
place of renewal for individuals who come in to the building to be
opened to the holy mysteries, to step away from the world, to find some
peace and quiet, to pray, to read, to listen to music, or sometimes just
to be still.
“In my opinion, the Mount Allison University Chapel is not only the most beautiful building built in the province during the last century, but the most architecturally inspirational as well. Its level of detail is nothing short of immaculate, while its material quality is virtually flawless. From the character and colour of the local red sandstone exterior cladding to the joyous blaze of stained glass colour throughout the interior, the Chapel is an under-appreciated marvel. It is also one of the few buildings I have ever experienced that feels equally comfortable and intimate when you're inside alone, or among a crowd of 200.”
—New Brunswick historian John Leroux in Building New Brunswick (2008), his architectural history of the province