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Chapel of Unity

Working towards the reunion of Christian communions

The principle of a Chapel of Unity binding the Church of England and the Free Churches together for Christian service in Coventry was born out of the sufferings of war and the ecumenical enthusiasm of the church leaders.

In November 1945 the West Crypt was dedicated to this principle and, with the building of the new Cathedral, the opportunity was taken to create a purpose-built chapel. A stone of witness was laid in the entrance on 24th September 1960, and the Chapel of Unity was dedicated on Whit Tuesday, 12th June 1962, a fortnight after the Cathedral itself.

Since then the Chapel of Unity has been owned on a 999-year lease by a Joint Council and is managed on their behalf by a Commission of the Churches Together in Coventry and Warwickshire. Ecumenical services are held each week.

In 1962 there was virtually no communication between the Roman Catholics and other denominations but by 1970 the constitution of the Joint Council had been changed to include them on equal terms.

The form conceived by the architect (Sir Basil Spence) for the Chapel of Unity was that of a tent, the temporary home of a people always ready to move onwards. The exterior walls are clad with green Westmorland Slate, which contrasts pleasantly with the pink sandstone of the Cathedral.

Chapel of Unity gallery
Chapel of Unity exterior The Chapel of Unity stands slightly aside; deliberately separate from, yet part of, the main body of the Cathedral. (photo: Philip Halling)
Chapel of Unity central floor mosaic Donated by the people of Sweden, the floor mosaics are by Swedish artist Einar Forseth and executed by Trata Maria Drescha.
Chapel of Unity mosaic for Asia The five floor mosaics around the central one, also by Forseth and Drescha, each represent one of the five continents (photo: J. Hannan-Briggs).
Chapel of Unity
Chapel of Unity entrance Please note that steps to the entrance seriously restrict wheelchair access
Chapel of Unity interior View into the Chapel of Unity, from the entrance.
Chapel of Unity exterior Legally - and almost physically - a separate building of shared ownership, the tall, thin stained glass windows of the Chapel of Unity can be seen here embedded at the end of each of its radiating fins.
Chapel of Unity exterior view Legally - and almost physically - a separate building of shared ownership, the tall, thin stained glass windows of the Chapel of Unity can be seen here embedded at the end of each of its radiating fins.
Chapel of Unity interior; ceiling Interior view of the cross and ceiling.
Chapel of Unity central mosaic The centre of an extensive floor mosaic donated by the people of Sweden and the artist, Einar Forseth.
Chapel of Unity window Vivamus sagittis lacus vel augue laoreet rutrum faucibus dolor auctor. Cras mattis consectetur purus sit amet fermentum. Cras mattis consectetur purus sit amet fermentum. Cras justo odio, dapibus ac facilisis in, egestas eget quam. Sed posuere consectetur est at lobortis.

Directions and accessibility
Wheelchair accessible

The Chapel is accessed internally from the Nave via 4 steps onto a level platform, then 3 further steps into the Chapel.
The Chapel can be accessed externally via doors leading off St Michael's Avenue onto the level platform then up 3 steps - please see a member of staff to arrange this.

Doors

Double doors into the Chapel are level permanently open.

Guide dogs

Assistance dogs are welcome.


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