The University Chapel is a sacred space available for prayer and worship by members of the University community, where hospitality is given and received as Christians and persons of other faith traditions “make room” for one another so that all may thrive.
“Hospitality means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines. It is not to lead our neighbor into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment.” — Henri J. M. Nouwen
Contemporary United Methodists are recovering the practice of hospitality when their congregations aspire to have “open hearts” and “open doors.” The University of Indianapolis shares this aspiration by offering opportunities for Christian students to grow in their faith in the context of various Christian ministries offered through the Office of Ecumenical & Interfaith Programs and by offering hospitality to those of other faith traditions.
McCleary Chapel, which opened its doors in July 2001, is dedicated as “a house of prayer for all people.” Located on the second floor of the Schwitzer Student Center of the University of Indianapolis, the chapel is the center of communal religious life on our campus. It is sacred space that enhances the spiritual dimension of our academic community. McCleary Chapel is a peaceful and beautiful space available to meet the needs of persons of all faith traditions. Here, persons are invited to be engaged in the practices of their respective faith traditions.
The Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs, housing the campus ministries of the University of Indianapolis, affirms this use of the chapel as consistent with its own commission to foster the “giving and receiving of hospitality” as a United Methodist church-related university. As a joint sharing among the various religious traditions on campus, this emphasis is envisioned as helpful in the deepening of faith commitments among members of our community, and in learning from and with each other in a context of mutual respect and consideration of who we are as persons of faith.
Primarily, the McCleary Chapel's use shall relate to religious and ceremonial events and programming for our campus. This means that the chapel is especially available for occasions for worship, fellowship, formation, and organizing religious functions on campus. It is also the location from which events that pertain to church relations and that involve guests to our campus from religious bodies are hosted. Other uses for the chapel are secondary to these principal ones for this sacred space.
Beyond scheduled programming, the chapel is to be open and available during the hours of operation of the Schwitzer Student Center to members of the campus community for personal devotional use and prayer.
The Meditation Room at the Schwitzer Student Center is also sacred space for the hallowed spiritual practices of individuals and small groups at the University of Indianapolis. It is to be open and available to the campus community for devotional use and prayer. Planned use includes meditation and prayer groups, and for special prayers, such as for Muslims during the month of Ramadan. Often, the World Religions class employs the Meditation Room for the teaching and practice of seated and walking meditation. Though usually open and not reserved, if there is a special need to reserve the Meditation Room, contact the Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs Office Manager at (317) 788-2106.
As a symbol of respect and hospitality for all the various spiritual traditions represented on our campus, there will be no permanent symbol within the Meditation Room that is specific to only one faith tradition. The symbol found on the center of the floor is a compass point toward the east, which aids some traditions in orientation for their prayers.
Activities held in the Mediation Room should, at all times, demonstrate the level of respect appropriate to religious spaces. There is to be no food or drink brought into the Mediation Room.
As “a house of prayer for all people” (Isaiah 56:7), these guidelines are in place to preserve its integrity and beauty:
Availability: The McCleary Chapel will be available from 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. Sunday through Friday for UIndy personnel. There is to be no food or drink in the chapel, though bottled water at appropriate times is permissible.
Configuration of Furnishings: Requests should be made with the Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs for any rearrangement of the chapel furnishings. Please do not move the Table of Gathering, the Pulpit, the Lectern, or the 5-Candle/Religious Symbols Stand by yourselves. (There is risk of damage to tile and carpet flooring, walls, and the furniture itself.) If there is to be any rearrangement of chairs, groups who use the chapel and make such changes are responsible to return all the chairs to the “standard configuration” as per the diagram shown. If you wish any or all of the chapel banners taken out of the chapel, please notify the Ecumenical and Interfaith staff to do this for you.
Table of Gathering: As a primary symbol of interfaith solidarity and/or unity for the UIndy campus community, The Table of Gathering will remain in its central location for most events. If there is justification for it to be moved, notify the Office Manager of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs Office to have the table moved for your group's event. Do not move The Table of Gathering yourself.
Pulpit and Lectern: Different groups will prefer to use either the Pulpit or the Lectern. On some occasions, both of these worship furnishings are used. When either the Pulpit or Lectern are to be moved, notify the EIP Office Manager. It is permissible to use the Lectern as a writing table for guest registration at weddings and other functions. Please use the appropriate padding on the writing surface to protect the woodwork.
Storage of Chairs: When chairs need to be put away, they are to be stored in the chair racks found in the storage room adjacent to the chapel. University maintenance can be asked to make major chair adjustments if you notify the Office Manager in a timely way with such a request. You may take care of chair arrangement and number yourselves when there is Ecumenical and Interfaith Office staff available to open the storage room for you. Under no conditions should the chairs be stacked against the stained glass windows or stacked against any walls in the chapel. No chapel chairs should be taken outside the chapel or the storage room.
Lights: Those persons who have agreed to be responsible for a particular event in the chapel (scheduled with the Office Manager of the Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs) are responsible for turning out the centered glass ring and inset can lights after said use. Only the set of hanging lights should remain on. University Police will be responsible for opening and closing the Chapel each day.
Sound equipment: The McCleary Chapel is a small enough space that for many events, sound amplification equipment is not found to be necessary. If you do desire sound equipment, check with the Ecumenical and Interfaith Office Manager. The chapel has limited sound equipment resources available.
Jerusalem Cross: Normally, this space is used for weekly Christian worship, and the Jerusalem cross would be in place for the normal cycle of events. However, when a religious group from the university community should need to have the Jerusalem Cross removed from the McCleary Chapel, the procedure is to contact the Office Manager at least one full week in advance so that appropriated arrangement can be made to have University Maintenance personnel remove the cross. Under no circumstances should individuals try to take down the Jerusalem Cross by themselves.
Reverent Disposition of the Jerusalem Cross: When the Jerusalem Cross is removed from its place at the center of the McCleary Chapel, reverence should be used. One of the University Chaplains may supervise the removal of the cross by Maintenance personnel. The cross will be placed in the storage rack that has been built for the temporary hanging of the Jerusalem Cross found in the Storage Room. When the Jerusalem Cross is returned to the central chapel space, it will again be done under the supervision of a chaplain.
Please note: These policies and guidelines have been reviewed and approved by the University of Indianapolis administration. They are set for both campus and other groups in the use of the chapel. If you have further questions about the use of the McCleary Chapel, please call the Office Manager of Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs at 788-2106, or stop in the Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs at Schwitzer Student Center, suite 203.