Plans for the Chapel began in the 1950s under President Plyler, but lack of funds kept the project in the planning stages until 1992. That’s when the university received a $24.5 million donation in memory of Charles Ezra Daniel, some of which was set aside for a chapel in his name. A firm believer in the importance of higher education and a giant in the construction industry, Daniel constructed of many colleges and university buildings for free during his lifetime. He took a special interest in Furman and his home, White Oaks, is now the home of Furman’s president.
The university started the building stages of the chapel just as it split with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Although many people thought the split would mean the school would abandon it’s Christian heritage, we instead grew to become the robust and diverse religious community we know today.
The Chapel today
Today the top level of the chapel is the sacred space used for worship services, lectures, weddings, funerals, and sacred concerts. The 27,000-square-foot space can seat up to 350 people.
It's also a popular venue for sacred concerts and when you walk in you'll see why. The Hartness Organ is the focal point of the room. An Opus 121 of the renowned C.B. Fisk Organ builders, it was custom designed for the room, which was described by legendary conductor Robert Shaw as "one of the most acoustically outstanding performance spaces in America."
Links to South Carolina history
Our chapel has it's own history and story, but look closer and you'll see some links to the historic First Baptist Church of Charleston, the earliest Baptist church in the South, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
- Our chapel's cross is constructed from the First Baptist Church's rafter beams.
- The lectern is a replica of the one found in the First Baptist Church.
Student and spiritual life
Our student body loves getting involved and spiritual life is no exception. If you're meeting up with a student group, head down to the lower level of the chapel. That's where you'll find our offices, meeting rooms, and classrooms on this level. Our students use these spaces for bible study, group meetings, discussions, weekly dinners, and more.