History of Manning Memorial Chapel

The Manning Memorial Chapel is found nestled in the beautiful campus of Acadia University.

Acadia has always had spiritual growth as the core of the life and work of the University.  In 1838, it was founded by the Baptist Churches, which retain their role through appointees to the University’s Board of Governors.  The role of the church is continued today through the Manning Memorial Chapel and its Chaplain.  In 1990, a campaign for $1 million was begun to endow the University Chaplaincy including programs, personnel, and chapel maintenance.  

The stained glass windows in the Manning Memorial Chapel present the same pattern to worshippers whether light is behind them or shining upon them.  Changing light changes colour and value in the jewel toned glass.  This beauty was the result of careful planning by the master craftsman Henry Lee Willet.  His artistry and dedication to making the windows beautiful in any circumstance illustrates the desire to enrich the lives of those who enter the chapel that has guided the chapel since it was first built almost forty years ago.

The 20-stop classical organ was built by Casavant Freres of Québec, and was dedicated to the University’s War Dead on August 16, 1963.  The 28.5 inch cast swinging bell, was cast by Taylor Company in England, and its stunning sound can be heard two miles away.  The church spire, with a six-foot cross covered with gold leaf, towers 198 feet above sea level.  The interior millwork of the chapel is native birch with walnut handrails.  The Chipman Tapestry brickwork is laid in Flemish Bond and the ornamental plaster was created by Joseph Corbo of Montréal, one of the few remaining plaster craftsmen in Canada.

All the details have been chosen with loving care.  They have been made possible through the generosity of the Manning family over the years.  The Acadia Chaplaincy, similarly supported through magnanimous gifts, has guided and supported thousands of Acadia students and staff members since 1963 when the Chapel was opened and dedicated in memory to the late Fred C. Manning.

Owing to the activities of many students, the Acadia chapel has become one of the busiest spots on campus.  It is a place where students and staff go for services, quiet contemplation, counselling, and a myriad of other activities.  The doors are quite literally always open.

The chapel itself is open for services every day of the week, as well as a Roman Catholic mass on Saturdays and a University service on Sundays.  There have been Passion Plays in which many students take part as well as Reader's Theaters and short skits.  There are also bible studies, banquets, and of course concerts.  Events sometime leave standing room only.