The Office for Religious Life > Memorial Church

Overview | Layout | History | Organs | Inscriptions | Quatrefoils

Stanford Memorial Church is open for visitors
Mondays - Fridays from 8:00 - 5:00 pm.

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 also to be non-denominational. 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. You can find a 360° photo from the church's balcony here. You can download the brochure here.

Times: Fridays, 2:00 PM; Last Sundays of the month, 11:15 AM; No tours on holidays.
Location: In front of Memorial Church

Explore Memorial Church and its fascinating history, including stories of its endurance through two damaging earthquakes. There are no tours on holidays.