Stanford’s Spiritual Legacy

The Stanfords built a church in the middle of campus in the hopes that it would act as a spiritual center for the university.

An article in the January 25th edition of the San Jose Mercury News talked about Stanford’s spiritual legacy: Church Remains At School’s Heart.

When Leland and Jane Stanford decided to place a church at the center of campus, the faculty balked. A library — a place of books and thought — would be more appropriate, the professors opined. But Jane Stanford stood firm.

“The church is the only institution that makes or has made or pretends to make a stand against immorality in all its forms,” she said. “Education does not; nor does that science in which you are interested and which you consider all‐powerful.”

Sadly, the church has (in my estimation) fallen far. Few would regard it as the heart of the university today, and the spiritual menu offered at the Church has broadened beyond measure: both the founder of the Ba’hai faith and the Dalai Lama have spoken there. I think the article puts it well: For some, the church is a community treasure more akin to a museum than a religious institution.

The article is accompanied by a brief history of Memorial Church.

Learn more about Memorial Church online.

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