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There is a long tradition of Christian worship in the Castle, particularly because until 1837 it was a residence of the Bishops of Durham, whose private chapels are now those of the College. Today the ethos is one of a warm welcome to all, whether practising Christians of any denomination or not. The Chapels are also spaces of stillness and prayer at the heart of a busy academic community. The aim of the Chaplaincy is to sustain and nourish that community pastorally and spiritually both through the personal ministry of the Chaplain and by a regular pattern of services and other activities. Those who participate are a vibrant mix of JCR, MCR and SCR members. Details of services and activities are set out on this site or advertised on notice boards outside the Great Hall and the Tunstal Chapel. Notices of forthcoming events and extraordinary services are sent to the Chapel List; to subscribe to the list please either signup online, e-mail the Chapel Clerk - or come along to one of our services and find out what's happening!
The Castle has two Chapels. The Norman Chapel dates from the late eleventh century, and is at the bottom of the spiral staircase to the Norman Gallery. It is small and atmospheric, an ideal setting for the candlelit service of Compline on Sundays and special services. It is used often by other Christian groups, and occasionally plays are performed there. The larger Tunstal Chapel was built in the sixteenth century and later extended. It can be found through the black door in the courtyard clock tower on the right at the top of the stairs. Arranged in ‘collegiate’ style, it is used for the Sunday morning Sung Eucharist and Thursday Choral Evensong. The Tunstal Chapel has an organ which may be played by competent organists and those learning the organ, by arrangement with the Chaplain and Organ Scholar. During the day when the chapels are not in use for services they are usually available for private prayer or quiet reading. If they are locked, keys can be signed out at the Porters' Lodge.
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