Church of the Week: Summerall Chapel, Charleston, SC

I had the privilege and joy of performing a wedding this past weekend in beautiful, striking, impressive Summerall Chapel on the campus of The Citadel, in historic Charleston, South Carolina. It is a beautiful, impressive, striking chapel, completed in 1937.

The verse on the facade, over the front entrance, is from Ecclesiastes 12:1: "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth."

The chapel, cruciform in design, is in a 14th century Gothic style. The furniture throughout is plain-sawed Appalachian Mountain white oak stained cathedral brown. The ceiling and timbering are pine. The lighting fixtures are handcrafted wrought iron throughout. Hanging from the walls are flags from the 50 states and the territories.

After the completion of the Chapel, each of the classes (up through the Class of 1944) had the opportunity to purchase a window as a lasting memorial to its members. Those class windows (three are shown at the bottom of the photo above) show the life of Christ in superb stained glass with each window depicting some important event in His life. The facade and transept windows (one of which is at the top in the photo above) are made up of a number of units or "medallions," provided by families or friends of the men whom they commemorate. Only those who have been Citadel cadets and a few designated faculty and staff are so honored.

The great chancel window, located directly behind the altar, was dedicated in 1942 as a memorial to all Citadel graduates who gave their lives in their country's cause. It portrays exemplars and symbols of courage, sacrifice, religion, truth, duty, loyalty, patriotism, faith, charity, prayer, adoration, praise, and immortality.

The acoustics in this chapel are wonderful, along with an amazing organ (and organist, whose work was flawless). And an added feature of a wedding in this venue: the "sexton," one of the school's cadets, who adds his skills and efforts to making things run smoothly (thanks, Patrick!).

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