By virtue of its placement in the center of campus, the Lois Perkins Chapel symbolizes the rich historical and ongoing tie between Southwestern and the United Methodist Church – helping students realize their fullest human potential within an intellectually challenging, nurturing and inclusive community.
Chapel Lounge/Multi-Faith Prayer Room
The Chapel Lounge and Multi-Faith Prayer Room is a small building located to the east of the chapel in the courtyard. It is used as a meeting place for small groups, a robing room for processionals, and a dressing room for wedding parties, and most importantly a place for students to come for reflection and prayer.
North of the lounge, on the east side of the chapel, the Chapel courtyard symbolizes the peaceful influence of the chapel. Located in the courtyard, is the sculpture “Madonna and Child” done in cast stone by Charles Umlauf, an internationally renowned sculptor from Austin, Texas. Madonna meaning “My Lady” in Italian, refers to the Virgin Mary holding the Child or better known as Jesus Christ. The work is known as restrained modern art and places special emphasis on form.
When dedicated in 1953, it was located in front of the chapel’s south façade. The sculpture was moved to the garden during the 1981 renovation. It was donated in memory of South Carolina Easley Root by her daughter, Margarett Root Brown, the spouse of Herman Brown.
Christians began using labyrinths in the Middle Ages as a way to recreate the arduous journeys that were made by pilgrim. Derrick Dolezal ’13 helped former University Chaplain Rev. Beverly Jones build the labyrinth as part of a summer internship with the Office of Spiritual Life.
The labyrinth is 36 feet in diameter and is constructed of limestone blocks. It is located on land that used to be part of the golf course at Southwestern placed next to the Howry Center. The pattern Dolezal designed is modified from the popular labyrinth design built into the floor of the Cathedral at Chartres in the Middle Ages.
Former Chaplain, Rev. Beverly Jones during her time at Southwestern University had offered programs that introduced students to prayer walking and the history and use of labyrinths in spiritual growth. Jones had left Southwestern University shortly after the Labyrinth was finished; however, she wished all students, faculty, and staff would appreciate the availability of the labyrinth and use it whenever they felt so called to do so whenever they were in their spiritual journey.