Faith and Chaplaincy
Welcome to the Faith and Chaplaincy page. As we rebuild our community and a new model of college life emerges after COVID, we intend to do all we can to be a presence to serve, listen and care for all members of the college community amid the changes.
The role of the chapel is as a place of peace. Focus and prayer for the world and this community continues – there are daily services, and a choral service on Sundays to which all are invited, including the general public. Our college choir includes 12 choristers from Christ Church Cathedral School. The choral and musical life of chapel reaches far beyond mere religious opinions, or defensive identities, and allows people to immerse themselves in inspiring, transforming sound. Each Sunday there is a speaker from one of a host of religious traditions: we have had Anglican, Armenian, Baptist, Catholic, Jewish, Latter-day Saint, Lutheran, Methodist, Muslim, Orthodox – Evangelical, Traditional and Liberal, as well as people who are reluctant to take a faith label, and those who are happy to share their quest from a non-religious perspective.
The chaplain is always very happy to meet in person – for whatever reason, just get in touch.
The Reverend Dr Andrew Teal
Andrew Teal is Chaplain and Fellow - his responsibilities include all aspects of chapel life and choir, the provision of pastoral care and welfare, as well as teaching. His research interests include ancient theology and philosophy, modern systematic theology & Christology, and the faith and spirituality of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is currently a Farmington Fellow and Visiting Fellow and Adjunct Faculty at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA.
Monday to Friday each day. A short order for Daily Prayer: see signage for details.
Sunday in full term: 5:30pm Choral Evensong or Choral Eucharist. Please see digital signage for full details of current preachers.
The ornate but intimate chapel has been somewhere people have gathered since 1732 – and, perhaps somewhat romantically, there is a sense of continuity with students, staff and visitors who have met there in joy and sorrow throughout three centuries. It embodies Eliot’s phrase: ‘a place where prayer has been valid’ (T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding). Damon Wells fully restored the chapel, and endows the Chaplain’s stipend, and therefore it bears his name by authority of a former Archbishop of Canterbury.
The chapel is used regularly by the College Christian Union , it is a regular place of worship for Oxford’s Armenian Community, and where Catholic Mass is celebrated. The Armenian Martyrs icon (consecrated by the Armenian Bishop) and the seventeenth-century statue of St Margaret of Antioch (blessed by the Catholic community) are important symbols of a living and growing place of significance for a network of Pembrokians, as well as many beyond our walls. The chapel is a beautiful context for baptisms, weddings, funerals and memorial services for students, staff and alumni – please contact the chaplain about these services in the first instance.
If you’re interested in a fuller historical description of the building, please see A Gentle History of the Damon Wells Chapel, Pembroke College, Oxford (by late Chaplain Emeritus Rev Dr John Platt and the late alumnus Brian Wilson), available from the College priced £15 + post & packaging.
Evensong at Pembroke is the highlight of my week - the music is beautiful, the people are lovely, and the atmosphere fills you with calm.
Junior Dean and choir member
The Chapel provides a space individually to reflect on the hopes and challenges of each day, and to view them with different perspective, individually or with others. Morning prayer offers a 10 minute routine in the morning to do so even in the busiest moments of term. (Best followed by breakfast.)
SRF & member of Faith & Chaplaincy Committee
Our weekly Evensong services feature a full four-part choir with accompaniment on our beautiful and versatile mechanical action Letourneau Organ, that also features in some of our weekly recitals. Everyone is welcome to join the choir and need only contact the organ scholars if interested.
I am grateful to the Chaplain, the Revd Dr Andrew Teal for opening the doors of Pembroke chapel to the Oxford Armenian community to celebrate the Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is a deeply moving experience to participate in this liturgy, sung by the Oxford Armenian Choir directed by Marianna Asatryan, together with all who wish to take part. It lends a spiritual dimension to the study of Armenia and the Armenians undertaken in college by the Calouste Gulbenkian Professor in Armenian, postdocs, and students
Chair of the Faith and Chaplaincy Committee
It has been a deep privilege and joy to share many conversations with Andrew Teal, and in him I have found a wonderful companion and friend in our more-than-human world. His compassion, wisdom and humility are both nourishing and clarifying, and our spontaneous dialogues - the fabric of which is interwoven with Buddha and Christ, and mine and Andrew's experiences of living and being - fill me with a sense of wonder and peace. The living and breathing universe is infinite in its creativity, magic and beauty, and this is especially apparent to me when in the company of Andrew Teal.
Pembroke DPhil student in Mathematics and Zoology