Friday, May 20, 2011

MGH Chapel marks 70 years

CELEBRATING THE MGH CHAPEL: From left, Martin, Harris and Slavin MGH Chapel celebrates 70 years

THE MGH CHAPEL, located in the Ellison Building, reached a milestone last month, as it celebrated its 70th anniversary. To mark this birthday, several members of the MGH Chaplaincy and special guests – including Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president; the Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris, the first woman ordained a bishop in the Anglican Communion; and Dotty Martin, a longstanding member of MGH Volunteer Services and the Ladies Visiting Committee (LVC) and former chair of the LVC Chapel Committee – offered remarks and participated in an anniversary service April 27 in the chapel.

Plans for the MGH Chapel – which originally was located in the Baker Building and called the Gothic Revival Chapel – began in the late 1930s, when the Rt. Rev. William Lawrence, a retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, recognized a need for a quiet place in the hospital where individuals could pray, reflect and meditate. A strong believer in the power of faith and spirit in healing, Lawrence received support from more than 800 individuals of all faiths for the chapel’s construction, which then was considered “a bit of pioneer hospital work.”

The MGH Chapel opened April 25, 1941, and has been open 24 hours a day, seven days a week ever since, offering individuals of all faith traditions or of no religious affiliation a space for “healing of body and spirit.”

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