Bond Chapel was built at the same time as Rockefeller Chapel, at the end of the Gothic revival period in America. Both chapels serve as ceremonial and spiritual centers for the University, and both are used for a wide variety of performing arts events also.
As a University Chapel, Bond Chapel is used by the Divinity School for weekly reflective gatherings and for many ceremonial occasions. It is widely used by members of the University for weddings and memorial services, and for religious practices of the diverse traditions represented on campus. It is also a sought after destination for intimate concerts and other artistic events. Its location adjacent to Goodspeed Hall makes it an attractive venue for student performances, and it readily attracts bookings from professional musicians and artists visiting the University.
Both Swift Hall (the Divinity School, to which Bond Chapel is linked by a beautiful cloister) and Bond Chapel were designed by the architects Coolidge and Hodgdon. The chapel was given by Mrs. Joseph Bond in memory of her husband, a former trustee of the Baptist Theological Union, the predecessor institution of the Divinity School. Mr. and Mrs. Bond’s daughter, Elfleda, married Edgar J. Goodspeed, a member of the university faculty noted for his translation of the New Testament. After Elfleda’s death in 1949, Mr. Goodspeed donated the stained-glass windows in her memory.
Bond Chapel became the home of the Reneker organ, rededicated in its new setting in 2013, and at the same time new furnishings were provided by a generous gift from the Women's Board of the University of Chicago. The custom-made chairs were made in a style and finish honoring the traditions of the Chapel while making possible the flexible use of the building for new generations. The beautiful new furnishings allow for maximum variety of use, as is commonplace in chapels used also as concert venues. The chairs may be arranged in antiphonal style for an organ recital, or in traditional chapel format for a wedding, in a semi-circular format for a spiritual event, or placed to the side to allow for open space use.
The Reneker organ
The Reneker organ, inspired by instruments built in northern Germany in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was built by Canadian master organ builder Karl Wilhelm in 1983 for Graham Taylor Hall at the Chicago Theological Seminary. It was dedicated in 1984 in honor of the late Robert W. Reneker and Betty C. Reneker, and was moved to Bond Chapel in the autumn of 2012.
The commemorative program from its rededication on February 2, 2013, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Betty Reneker, may be downloaded here.