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COVID-19 Update

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Memorial Church, the Center for Inter-Religious Community, Learning and Experiences (CIRCLE), and Windhover Contemplative Center are all currently closed. Students who wish to apply for a religious event exemption, click HERE for more information.

 Banner image for the “SAR” section featuring 3 images of Memorial Church from different perspectives. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Memorial Church & Companion Spaces

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Stanford Memorial Church stands at the center of the campus, and is the University's architectural crown jewel. It was one of the earliest, and is still among the most prominent churches in the West. Jane Stanford built the church as a memorial to her husband, Leland. Together, Senator and Mrs. Stanford had constructed the University as a memorial to their son, Leland, Jr.

The Stanfords, who were religious, but not committed to any denomination, decreed that the church was to be open to all. Adopting such a philosophy, they felt, would permit the church to serve the broadest spiritual needs of the university community. The Stanfords also saw spiritual and moral values as essential to a young person's education and future citizenship. The first chaplain of Memorial Church, the Rev. Charles Gardner, said on its dedication day in 1903: "We begin anew today no less an experiment than this: to test whether a non-sectarian church can minister to the spiritual needs of a great university. it has been built in love; not to teach a theological system, not to develop a sectarian principle, but to minister to the higher life." The church construction was completed in 1903. Today, regular multi-faith services are held in the church, in addition to denominational and nondenominational Christian services.

Download the Memorial Church Self-Guided Tour Brochure


You can find a 360° view of Memorial Church's interior here

Banner image featuring a photograph of the interior ceiling, via Wikimedia Commons. Photo Credit: Eugene Zelenko

Memorial Church

Explore all there is to know about the history of the church and beyond, including information on how to visit. 

Interior shot of the CIRCLE at sunset.

CIRCLE Multi-Faith Center

The CIRCLE offers a common room, an interfaith sanctuary, a seminar room, a student lounge area and a library, as well as offices connected to OSRL.

Windhover Inner Courtyard

Windhover Contemplative Center

Explore this one-of-a-kind space on campus, including how to visit.