Events at Harkness Chapel

The chapel seats 400 and is used by the College for religious services and special events. Its beauty, superb acoustics and accessibility make it the perfect venue for weddings, baptisms, musical perfornaces, recitals, organ lessons and lectures.

Harkness Chapel hosts a variety of musical performances each year, including a cappella concerts, student recitals, guest performances and organ lessons. It has also been the setting for lectures by such speakers as Paul Tillich, Daniel Berrigan, Reinhold Niebuhr, William Sloane Coffin and Henry Sloane Coffin. Perennial favorites, such as the seasonal performances of Christmas Vespers and the winter solstice celebration of Make We Joy in December, and the Connecticut Early Music Festival in June, draw visitors from surrounding communities and afar.

The main floor of the chapel is wheelchair-accessible, with a ramp and railing at the main entrance, and there is an accessible restroom on that floor.

Consult the College's Online Calendar of Events for details on all Harkness Chapel events and performances open to the public.

Weddings, funerals and baptisms

Harkness Chapel is available for weddings, funerals, memorial services and baptisms, with certain limitations.

Please note: No weddings or rehearsals will be scheduled during academic terms. Please consult the Academic Year Calendar for the appropriate year to determine available dates. 

Services conducted in Harkness Chapel generally must be religious ceremonies. There is a $200 fee for funerals and memorial services that are not College sponsored. 

When the chapel is available, its use for weddings, funerals, memorial services and baptisms is restricted to:

  • Connecticut College alumni and their immediate family members, defined as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, grandchildren and grandparents
  • Students enrolled in degree programs and their immediate family members
  • Current members of the faculty, administration and staff, and their immediate family members
  • Current faculty of The Williams School and their immediate family members may also receive permission to use Harkness Chapel

Appropriate insurance must be purchased for all events in Harkness Chapel. Please contact Laurie McGrath, lamcg@conncoll.edu, Office of Religious & Spiritual Life administrative assistant, or call 860-439-2450.

Concerts for non-college groups

Harkness Chapel is available to groups outside of the immediate Connecticut College community for concerts. Groups interested in renting the Chapel must do so when classes are not in session. When permission is granted to schedule an outside event during the academic term, all parts of the event must be scheduled after 5 p.m. including set up, rehearsals and clean up. There are no exceptions. No reservations will be made to conflict with the term programs of the students or faculty of the College. Non-Connecticut College groups are charged a fee for the use of the building, except for those groups sponsored by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, or groups which include Connecticut College students. Please contact Laurie McGrath, lamcg@conncoll.edu, Office of Religious & Spiritual Life administrative assistant, or call 860-439-2450.

Reserving Harkness Chapel

Please follow these steps:

Determine availability: Reservations for the Chapel are made through the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, not the College's Events Office. This ensures availability and places the reservation on the Chapel's separate calendar. No weddings or outside events may be scheduled during the academic term. Please contact Laurie McGrath, lamcg@conncoll.edu, Office of Religious & Spiritual Life administrative assistant, or call 860-439-2450.

Reserve the date: No reservation will be confirmed until the officiant has been determined and has consented to perform the ceremony.

Arrange for visiting clergy: Visiting clergy are welcome, but permission must be obtained in advance from the College chaplain of the appropriate faith tradition. Contact the chaplains. The College chaplains may be available to conduct weddings for couples in need of clergy. Those wishing to pursue this possibility should make arrangements with the appropriate chaplain.

Roman Catholic weddings: Couples planning to be married in the Roman Catholic faith must complete a marriage preparation program. Visiting Catholic clergy must obtain delegation from the Connecticut College Catholic chaplain, Father Washabaugh, at 860-439-2452. 

Accessibility

The main floor of the chapel is wheelchair-accessible, with a ramp and railing at the main entrance, and there is an accessible restroom on that floor.