Stanford Memorial Church
Stanford Memorial Church is open for visitors
Mondays – Fridays from 8:00 – 5:00 pm
Sunday, 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
* except during services, University holidays, Winter closure or Commencement Weekend
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, interdenominational 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. Please explore the church’s features and history with the links above.