In the final church service in the Duke Chapel before it is closed for renovations, worshipers were encouraged to keep the community spirit strong throughout the restoration period.

Sunday, the final service in the Duke Chapel before renovations began was held and followed by a reception.

During the 90-minute service Sunday morning, which was in full attendance, Luke Powery—dean of Duke Chapel and associate professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School—emphasized that the Chapel community was more than just the building that housed their gatherings.

“The influence has grown from Durham, to the state of North Carolina, to the nation and the world because of the people who fill and use this building,” he said. “Buildings don’t love but they may help our loving purposes."

He encouraged worshipers to be known not only as having a “great, towering church” but also as a “great, loving church.”

The service made use of portions of the blessings performed at the dedication of the Chapel 80 years prior, and was well-received by many worshipers.

“It was an awesome service that was appropriate for the day,” said Kathy McLaughlin, a Durham resident who was in attendance. “We can make this journey for the next year intact.”

Work to restore the Chapel's roof, ceiling, woodwork and stained glass windows will be performed throughout the upcoming year. Renovations were deemed necessary after a piece of the ceiling fell in 2012 and will cost approximately $10 million. The firm responsible for designing the repairs—Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.—has previously done work on the Washington Monument and National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

During renovations, the Duke Chapel congregation will relocate to Baldwin Auditorium, and move back to West Campus to meet in Page Auditorium when the academic year begins. The Chapel will officially close May 11 after graduation ceremonies.