Glenn Memorial UMC
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Loving God, Loving Neighbor

The Little Chapel

little chapel photoThe Little Chapel, located in the Church School Building, is an architectural gem.  The chapel is almost an exact replica, on a smaller scale, of the interior of St. Stephen Walbrook, an Anglican church in London that is considered to be one of Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpieces.  The chapel is graced with the same beautifully arched proportions, carved woodwork, and fine plaster molding.  The dome is based on Wren’s original design for St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Like the Glenn Memorial sanctuary, the Little Chapel was designed by renowned Atlanta architect Philip Shutze and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Little Chapel seats 75 people.

The beautifully carved woodwork at the front and back of the chapel is in the style of Grinling Gibbons, who was employed by Wren to work on St. Paul’s and later served as master carver for King George I.  The woodwork was designed and carved by H.J. Millard, who learned his skill in his native England.  His carving includes pinecones, peaches, dogwoods, camellias, and magnolias, all borrowed from the Georgia landscape.

The stained glass window above the altar, depicting the wedding feast at Cana, was a gift of Thomas H. English, professor emeritus of English, in memory of his wife, Rachel Willet English, and in honor of the many weddings performed in the chapel. Henry Lee Willet, who designed the window, was Rachel’s brother.

The pipe organ was built by Virginia organ builders Taylor and Boody in 1985. The instrument has many of the visual and tonal features of the 18th century cabinet organs of England. The organ was deliberately designed to compliment the architecture of the chapel, including the beautiful wood carving complete with Georgia peaches.

Mrs. Flora Glenn Candler, who was a major contributor to the church, is credited with giving the chapel its name.  Mrs. Candler, who was a daughter of Wilbur Fisk Glenn, for whom Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church is named, and the daughter-in-law of Asa G. Candler, Sr., resisted all suggestions that the chapel be named after her. But while listening to the pastor talk about upcoming events being planned for “the little chapel" she said, "That shall be the name – ‘The Little Chapel.’”