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September 17, 2001

Cannon Chapel raises curtain on 20th anniversary celebration

By Michael Terrazas


Cannon Chapel celebrates its 20th birthday this week, even in the wake of the national tragedy that holds Emory, along with the rest of the country, in a grip of sadness. But, according to Candler School of Theology Dean Russell Richey, the horror that was Sept. 11, 2001, and its aftermath afforded Emory the opportunity to learn just how crucial a space Cannon has become.

“In this academic year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Cannon Chapel; we celebrate its centrality in the life of Candler; we celebrate its elasticity; we celebrate its place in Emory worship; we celebrate its capacity to accommodate the arts,” Richey said. “All those aspects or dimensions of its utility came into expression [Sept. 11].

“The Candler community—faculty, staff, students—followed the tragic events of the day together in Brooks Commons,” Richey continued. “At 11 a.m., we convened for worship. In word, sacrament and music, we found solace. Before and after the service, individuals resorted to the sanctuary and side chapel for prayer. After the 5 p.m. Glenn service, Emory students resorted to Brooks for quiet conversation and refreshments. On occasions of such sorrow but also on more joyous occasions, Cannon Chapel has a central place in Candler’s life and in Emory’s.”

Designed by New York architect Paul Rudolph (whose father Keener Rudolph was a member of Candler’s first graduating class in 1915), Cannon Chapel broke ground in August 1979—then-President Jimmy Carter spoke at the ceremony—and was officially consecrated in September 1981.
Since then the chapel has hosted some seminal events in Emory history, including President Bill Clinton’s economic summit in 1995, the Dalai Lama’s launching of the Emory/Drepung Loseling affiliation in Tibetan studies (also in 1995), and Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s meeting and dialogue with Rajmohan Gandhi, to name a few. It also has become, under the guidance of Marcy Assistant Dean of Worship Barbara Day Miller, a central space of worship and faith for everyone in the University community.

“Under [Day Miller’s] leadership, Cannon becomes a space that readily accommodates a rich Anglican rite one day, a joyous African American service the next day, and the moving United Methodist eucharist the following,” said Richey, adding that the sanctuary is his favorite feature
of Cannon. “The space proves remarkably resilient and expressive.”

“Cannon Chapel is an organic, living and breathing center of Emory University,” said Susan Henry-Crowe, dean of the chapel and religious life. “The walls of Cannon Chapel now hold the voices of learned and devoted professors and scholars; the prayers of peoples of many traditions from around the world; the artistry of photographers, sculptors, painters and weavers. It is indeed a building that has helped shape the future of scholarship, art, culture, learning and

Thomas Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, will kick off the anniversary celebration as the 2001 Whiteside Preacher in a service at 11 a.m., Sept. 20, in the Cannon sanctuary. At 1:30 p.m., Long will meet informally to talk about his sermon of the morning. At 2:30 p.m., Carlton Young, professor of church music emeritus, will deliver a lecture to be followed by discussion.

That night at 7:30 p.m., Bishop Othal Hawthorne Lakey of the Sixth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church will preach. He will be joined by Don Saliers, Cannon Distinguished Professor of Theology and Worship, as the celebrant. Timothy Albrecht, professor of church music and University organist, will perform, and Marian Dolan, assistant professor of church music and choral conducting, will lead the Candler Choraliers.

During this service, Young will introduce a new anthem setting and hymn, “Holtkamp,” composed to honor the company that designed and installed the Cannon Chapel organ.

The next morning on Sept. 21 at 11 a.m., Albrecht will lead a service of singing and praise, as well as a demonstration of the Hardin Chapel Organ.

For more information on Cannon anniversary events, contact Day Miller at 404-727-6153 or send e-mail to


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