Union Chapel celebrates 150 years

Swarthmore College President Valerie Smith — Courtesy Swarthmore College

A trip to Union Chapel is a special summer event, and this year the chapel enters into a new season celebrating its 150th anniversary and its completely rebuilt and restored 1924 Austin organ. A series of celebratory events will be held over the season, with announcements coming out soon, according to a press release from the chapel. After being shuttered the full 2020 season, the well-loved house of worship is reopening its doors and welcoming the community back in for a new summer season. Services will be held both virtually and in person (with safety protocols in place). While one preacher will appear only virtually, Union Chapel will be open for full worship, including to view the virtual sermon and enjoy the music.

The season opens on Lay Sunday, July 4, with Swarthmore College President Valerie Smith. This will be Smith’s first time at the pulpit at the chapel. Other first-time preachers this summer are the Rev. Cynthia Hale from Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Ga.; the Rev. Arthur Jones from St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas; the Rev. Dr. Kevin R. Murriel from Cascade United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Ga.; and Dr. Scott W. Sunquist from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass.

Returning preachers include the Rev. Susan Sparks (virtually) from Madison Avenue Baptist Church, New York City; the Rev. Deforest Soaries, First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey; the Rev. Otis Moss III from Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago; the Rev. Howard John Wesley from Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va.; and Union Chapel’s very own Rev. Aliya F. Browne from Oak Bluffs.

Union Chapel welcomes all people of all faiths. Doors will open at 9 am, with the organ prelude beginning at 9:50 am, and worship at 10 am. Union Chapel is located on Narragansett Avenue at the intersection of Kennebec and Circuit Avenues. Handicap access is on Grove Street. The press release states that vaccination cards are required to enter the Chapel.