Glorious chapel

Rededication of Goddard Chapel is March 13

After more than a century, Goddard Chapel continues to serve as a center for religious life at Tufts University, which will celebrate the renovations that have returned the stone church to its original beauty on Thursday, March 13, at 6 p.m. in the chapel on the Medford/Somerville campus.

As part of the dedication, the Rev. Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in Memorial Church at Harvard, will deliver the Russell Lecture.

Built during 1882-83 and first dedicated in 1883, Goddard Chapel was originally intended as a religious facility that could accommodate Tufts College's entire student body as well as the faculty. For decades, student attendance at daily non-sectarian religious services was mandatory. Funds to build the chapel were donated by Mary Goddard, who helped found Goddard College in Vermont, and by Tufts alumni.

When it was built, the chapel was widely acclaimed in the media for its interior and exterior design. Architect J. Phillip Rinn, who also designed Barnum Hall and a portion of the Metcalf Dormitory at Tufts, used the Lombardic Romanesque style for the chapel. The exterior blue-gray slate came from a Somerville quarry. Inside, particularly notable features are the ribbed ceiling and the arched woodwork above the stained glass windows. The pews, pulpits and ceiling ribs are cherry, and the paneling is spruce. Most of the original woodwork is intact.

The prominence of the stained glass windows in the sanctuary was deliberate. Rinn collaborated with an Italian-born artist, Tomasso Juglaris, to create five memorial windows, including those at the front, back and west side of the chapel.