Practices and Policies


Weekly Rhythms

Daily Rhythms

Yearly Rhythms

Offering everything from traditional worship to brave experiment, Marquand Chapel is the heart of Yale Divinity School.

Worship is planned and led by students, faculty, and staff of both Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music, under the leadership of the Dean of Chapel and a team of staff and students. 

Worship in Marquand often draws on a wide variety of inherited Christian traditions, with the worship of many denominations being represented. Beyond that, though, we also pay attention to the rising number of people in Western society who have a lively interest in spirituality, but feel no connection to traditional forms of church and worship. So Marquand is also actively engaged in original, creative, and experimental forms of worship, both for committed Christians and for those exploring the faith.

Attend Marquand five days in a row, and you may encounter an orthodox liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, a Mardi Gras worship party, a service of silent Lenten contemplation, a chapel converted into one of Dante’s spheres of heaven, or a worship café. As a student at Yale Divinity School, you may well have taken part in designing one of these services.

From traditional worship to brave experiment, from ancient liturgy to post-modern praise, from the heart of America to global worship, Marquand’s mission is to be worshipful, educational, and ecumenical, and we look forward to welcoming you here. 

Services take place in Marquand Chapel at 11:30 a.m. every weekday when classes are in session. There are also a few additional services for special occasions. 


The Marquand program is directed by the Dean of Chapel, who is assisted by a team of staff and students. A team of student Chapel Ministers is appointed each year to work under the supervision of the Dean of Chapel. Three organ scholars and two student choir directors are also appointed each year. 

It is the aim of the whole Chapel team to include and collaborate with a large number of contributors from among the Faculty, staff and students of YDS to plan and lead worship during the year, as well as inviting alumni/ae and other visitors to expand our experience and learning. We aim to build a community that rejoices in common ground while also respecting particularity and difference, not expecting anyone to agree with every taste and opinion, but allowing difference to challenge, inform and develop our own convictions. In all of this, then, we aim to discover a core of worship that draws the richness and variety of the many Christian traditions represented on the Quad, not merely rotating through different traditions, but drawing on the characteristics of each to create a unique expression of ecumenical worship within the ongoing life of this learning community. 

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Marquand worship follows a weekly pattern. Monday through Thursday worship lasts 30 minutes. Every Thursday is “Sung Morning Prayer” – a service unique to Marquand in which we sing almost the entire service, and through the course of the year we sing through the music of many different traditions. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday include preaching services and other services of Word and prayer. On Fridays our services are extended to 45 minutes for a Eucharist, Holy Communion or Lord’s Supper, sometimes celebrated in the tradition of a specific denomination, and other weeks in a unique, non-denominational style. Once or twice a semester we build an entire week’s worship around a theme, often to coincide with larger national or community events.

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One of the features of Marquand worship is that, unlike almost every other form of Christian worship, our services are only 30 minutes long, and occur within the working day rather than at the weekend. We do not have the leisure of a Saturday night or Sunday morning, so all the forms of worship have to be adapted to fit to a tight time slot. Although this may sound constraining, it proves true that “necessity is the mother of invention”, and it is educational to discover that 30 minutes can seem timeless and rich, rather than rushed, if the service is conceived and executed well. It is surprising to find just how much you can communicate in a 3-minute reflection, or how prayer is transformed by being sung rather than said. Time seems to stand still when the community learns to keep silence together, and prayer comes to life when it is expressed in many different ways - extemporaneous one day, scripted the next, sung or walked the day after that. 


Marquand is shaped by the fact that we are an academic community – the makeup of the community is transient, and our timetable and focus is governed to a large extent by the academic year. Each year in Marquand is a little different as the particular makeup of the School, and its pool of talents and interests, shifts from one year to the next. One year, dance might be a particular feature, another it might be drama, or various forms of music. And at all times there are connections to be made between what we learn in the classroom or the library, and how we express our worship in Chapel. Throughout the course of each year Marquand’s worship is planned around the life of the community – so we design our worship program to coincide with issues raised by conferences, themes of the year and other events such as visiting lecturers or artists.

Marquand also aims to give due attention to our situation in the wider community of Yale and of New Haven, reminding ourselves not to become too insulated in the concerns of our working day, but to allow our worship to reflect our whole lives. 

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Marquand occasionally hosts services in the evenings. 

TheAdvent Service is the largest Marquand event each year. It marks the end of the fall semester and is followed by a festive celebration the Common Room. The Advent Service liturgy is highly creative, often drawing in a wide range of contributions from the YDS community. Through scripture, song, spoken word, drama, the visual arts and more, we together anticipate the coming of Christ.  

Marquand hosts an annual Easter Hymn Sing each year on the Monday evening following Easter. It is a festive occasion of community singing and refreshments to celebrate Christ’s resurrection.


Once or twice a year, Marquand invites a guest artist to curate several worship services, lead workshops, and meet with students. Over the years, we have invited liturgists, visual artists, dancers, and musicians to serve as Artists in Residences. These guests collaborate with the Marquand team to create original and experimental forms of worship that deepen and renew liturgy’s relationship to the arts.


The Marquand Chapel Choir, conducted by graduate choral conducting students, sings on Fridays in chapel as well as for special services during the academic year. The choir is open to all students and welcomes singers of varying experience. Rehearsals are on Sunday evenings. 

The Marquand Gospel and Inspirational Choir, led by Mark Miller, sings twice a month in Marquand services as well as for special services during the academic year. Repertoire comes mainly from the African American sacred tradition, often featuring the compositions of the ensemble’s director. Joyful singing, creating community, celebrating diversity, and having fun are the spiritual principles of the ensemble. Rehearsals are every other Monday night in Marquand Chapel. 

For more information about Marquand Music Ensembles contact Marquand Music Director Nat Gumbs at


The Dean of Chapel consults regularly with the Marquand Advisory Committee, which numbers three faculty, one senior staff member, and two students, and is chaired by Professor Chloe Starr. Everything can be discussed here, from the broad direction of Marquand worship to specific concerns that may be raised during the year, and the Dean of Chapel regularly takes the advice of the committee when complex and important decisions arise. The Committee also oversees the selection of student preachers.  


 There is very rarely official photography, recording, or broadcasting of Marquand services. Some special occasions, such as the Advent Service, might be photographed or recorded by a member of the Marquand Team or YDS communications staff; in such instances, Marquand provides special notice and seating for individuals who prefer to not be photographed.

The Marquand Advisory Committee met on January 19th  2017 for a preliminary discussion on community etiquette concerning recording, photography, broadcasting, and social media in Chapel. Here are some questions we discussed:

o  We live in a society that increasingly views life through a lens—should we do that in Chapel? Does it heighten, or diminish, our experience of worship? 

o  We are equipped in Marquand to record for archive purposes, but not for broadcast; we lack personnel resources to develop recording facilities at the current time; we are careful to abide by legal constraints on what we record or broadcast. Given our current situation, should we look into extending our capacity for recording? 

o  For some people in Marquand, snapping a photo, a selfie, or a movie clip of worship, and sharing it through social media, is a way of sharing their experience of faith with friends and family. For others, being photographed without consent feels like an invasion of privacy, and diminishes their enjoyment of worship. In our multi-cultural, multi-denominational worship space, how can we attend to each others feelings? What would be a good chapel etiquette? 

The Committee plans to open up a community debate on these matters in the future. If you have wisdom to share with the Committee, please send your feedback to or

In the meantime, we ask that individuals minimize photographing, recording, or broadcasting Marquand services. Student preachers frequently request to have their sermons recorded in order to share the experienced with loved ones or for professional purposes, however video recording of sermons is not permitted. Instead, students are encouraged to create an audio recording of their senior sermon using a personal device placed discreetly in the pulpit. 

A NOTE ABOUT WORSHIP FACILITATED VIA ZOOM: Recordings of Marquand Chapel services that are facilitated via Zoom due to COVID19 will not be shared publicly unless specially noted in our weekly “Coming up in Marquand Chapel” newsletter that goes out each Sunday. On occasion, short clips from services (for example: a faculty sermon) may be shared publicly with the explicit written permission of every person who’s face or voice features in that segment.

RECORDING EQUIPMENT: Marquand Chapel recording equipment is only to be used by Marquand Chapel organ scholars and choral conductors. Student musicians who serve Marquand Chapel (section leaders, etc.) might submit a request for recording equipment to chapel staff ( or Recording equipment is not to leave the city of New Haven, and it must be returned to chapel staff during extended breaks.


As of January 2018, we currently do not use real candles in Marquand chapel due to safety concerns; no exceptions! 

Last updated: June 1, 2018.