Glenn Memorial UMC
Thursday, March 05, 2015
Loving God, Loving Neighbor

The Glenn Memorial Sanctuary

sanctuary photo
sanctuary photo
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Glenn Memorial was built in 1931 to serve as both a sanctuary for this congregation and an auditorium for Emory University. The building was named in memory of The Reverend Wilbur Fisk Glenn. Including the balcony, the sanctuary seats 1,400 people.

In addition to being our worship home, the sanctuary hosts other services of various faiths and denominations that are sponsored by Emory University’s Office of Religious Life and by the Candler School of Theology. 

Special programs regularly draw large audiences to the auditorium, including performances by visiting artists, Emory student events, and addresses by speakers of national and international importance, including Bishop Desmond Tutu, authors Salman Rushdie and Barbara Kingsolver, actress Mia Farrow, celebrity chef Paula Deen, Paul Rusesabagina (subject of the movie “Hotel Rwanda"), and former President Jimmy Carter, who holds “town meetings” in Glenn auditorium on a regular basis.

Couples from the community and the campus often exchange their marriage vows at this altar, and some return with their children to celebrate the sacrament of baptism. Every Christmas since 1931, the sanctuary has been the home of the university’s stirring Festival of Lessons and Carols. The high traditions of convocation, inauguration, and baccalaureate are also celebrated at Glenn.

Like Glenn Memorial’s Little Chapel, the sanctuary was designed by renowned Atlanta architect Philip Shutze and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The architecture of the building follows the Christopher Wren tradition that English colonists brought to America. The main body of the church is modeled after St. Michaels Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The portico at the base of the 140 foot bell tower was derived from King’s Chapel in Boston, which is considered to be one of America’s finest examples of Georgian architecture. The tower itself, which is the most outstanding architectural feature of the church, is modeled after the bell tower of All Saints’, known as the “mother church” of the city of Bristol, England.