Grant Received from Arthur Vining Davis Foundations for Chapel Renewal


Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity has received a $200,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations’ Program for Religion to refresh and renew Davis Chapel and make it a teaching chapel facility.

Located in Wingate Hall, Davis Chapel was originally designed as a prayer and meditation chapel nearly 60 years ago. Today it is used twice weekly for School of Divinity chapel services, as a space for preaching and worship classes, and for religious services sponsored by the University’s Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life.

As worship leadership becomes ever more important in the contemporary church, a renovated Davis Chapel will create a more realistic learning lab for worship, said Jill Crainshaw, professor of worship and liturgical theology. “A more flexible and education-friendly worship space will enable us to more fully reflect and celebrate the richness of worship traditions our students and faculty represent.”

A planning team worked with a local liturgical designer to ensure that the refurbished chapel will enhance the public worship leadership of clergy for the church of the present and future. Renovations will include flexible seating, as well as new lighting, improved acoustics and better audio/visual capabilities, while maintaining the intimacy that makes Davis Chapel a distinctive place on the Wake Forest campus.

“These components will create a space for teaching about preaching, worship, and liturgy that is consistent with the high caliber of the School of Divinity faculty and the creative worship that is important to our students,” said Gail R. O’Day, School of Divinity dean and professor of New Testament and preaching.

The opportunities created with the enhancement of a teaching chapel will significantly aid the professional development of School of Divinity students as they head into church leadership with experience in worship renewal, designing and leading multicultural worship, facilitating accessibility for people with disabilities, and having explored worship from a variety of Christian traditions.  The new space will also lend itself to use by multiple religious traditions, and so reflect today’s religious landscape.

“Worship is a wonderful time of unity for our diverse student body,” said Daniel Potter, first year Master of Divinity student. “Every week we are welcomed to worship in many different ways, each representing a unique part of our community. Together we learn to expand our conceptions of what worship can be.”

Work on Davis Chapel is slated to begin this summer.


About The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations based in Jacksonville, Florida are a national philanthropic organization established through the generosity of the late American industrialist, Arthur Vining Davis. The Foundations’ principal commitment in the field of religion is to graduate theological education, which is believed to make an important contribution to moral integrity and future of the United States. Grants are made to institutions that are fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. More information can be found at

About Wake Forest University School of Divinity

The School of Divinity is a graduate, professional school that is Christian by tradition, Baptist in heritage, and ecumenical in outlook. Consistent with Wake Forest’s commitment to academic excellence and in the spirit of the University, Pro Humanitate, the School of Divinity prepares leaders informed by a theological understanding of vocation. Through imaginative courses and diverse programs of community engagement, students are equipped to be agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion in Christian churches and other ministries.


Media Contact: Mark Batten

Categories: Faculty, Grants, News, Spiritual Life, Worship