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Helen Hills Hills Chapel

Helen Hills Hills Chapel exterior view

The Center for Religious & Spiritual Life has offices at the Helen Hills Hills Chapel, located on Elm Street across from the Office of Admission. The chapel has a large space on the main floor for formal gatherings, concerts and quiet contemplation. You will find staff offices on the lower level, along with social spaces and a kitchen. In addition to the spaces in Helen Hills Hills Chapel, there is a prayer space in Wright Hall and a Kosher Kitchen in the Quad (see Spaces).

Please note: Art exhibits, banners, and other projects are occasionally displayed throughout the building. These displays cannot be changed or removed for any reason, including wedding rehearsals or ceremonies.

Reservations

Some spaces in the chapel require reservations, and others can be reserved if necessary. Reservations can be made by calling 413-585-2750 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by email: Kim Alston or Maureen Raucher.

History

The chapel’s construction was funded with a gift from Helen Hills Hills 1908. The chapel was completed and dedicated in 1955. In 2009, a renovation project on the chapel uncovered a time capsule that had been buried during the building’s construction. In 2014, the pews were removed from the sanctuary and replaced with oak chairs to allow more flexibility in the layout of the space. To learn more about the building's history, visit our blog.


Sanctuary

The main sanctuary, simple in its beauty, has outstanding acoustics and is the perfect place to hold religious services, lectures, concerts, performances, and other similar events.

Bodman Lounge

Bodman Lounge, located in the chapel’s lower level, provides the comforts of home. It has couches, wifi, a library of religious texts, and an adjacent full kitchen. We encourage informal use of the space without a reservation, but students and groups can reserve the space for events.

Kitchen

The kitchen is located in the lower level of the chapel. It is conveniently connected to Bodman Lounge, but can also be used separately without disturbing ongoing programs in Bodman. The kitchen is fully stocked with appliances, dishes, and utensils—bring your own ingredients. Students, student organizations, faculty and staff are free to reserve it for programming or personal use.

Blue Room

The Blue Room is a space intended for contemplative practice and prayer. It is a quiet space on campus where one can be alone and uninterrupted. It is a sacred space: anyone using the room is asked to remove their shoes and limit themselves to holy activities.

The Blue Room has many resources, including religious texts, Muslim prayer rugs, meditation pillows, chimes, and candles (please use responsibly!). The cardinal directions are marked on the walls, since compasses may not be reliable in the basement of the chapel.

Any groups wishing to reserve the space may do so, as long as their activities are aligned with the intended purpose of the Blue Room. Louder or larger group meetings are asked to please reserve a different space, such as the Bodman Lounge.

Reading Room

The Reading Room was created for a specific purpose: learning about the spiritual journey through the guidance and experience of the stories of others. While the chapel does have quite an extensive library in Bodman Lounge, most of these books are academic in nature. Instead, the Reading Room houses a collection of contemporary writing.

You won't find a book about the history of the Prophets or any kind of encyclopedia, but you will find Mother Theresa's biography or the sayings of Thich Nhat Hanh. These books are personal stories of loss, mistakes, dreams, and hopes; these are stories intended to show us how to be human through a spiritual lens. These stories are intended to speak to life through journeys of discovery and how others have handled challenging situations of their own.

The books are meant to speak to the intimacy of the space. The stories are personal, and the space is meant to be close and comforting as well. The books are easy to enter into, drawing the reader in; we hope the Reading Room itself will draw you in, as well. While the space can be reserved for small group meetings, please respect the idea of the space and any others who may be using it.

The collection in the Reading Room is not stagnant; the Office continues to collect books from the most unlikely places: from Raven, the used bookstore downtown, to the Dean's town dump! Come in to find a new favorite or to rediscover an old friend.

Hindu Mandir

The chapel houses a Hindu prayer space located on the west side of the balcony level of the chapel. Equipped with images, incense, and religious texts, it is a place for Hindu worship and prayer.

Organ

The organ is located on the top floor of the chapel. This Aeolian-Skinner organ is the original one installed at the dedication of the chapel in honor of James Mandley Hills, husband of Helen Hills Hills, after whom the chapel is named.

The organ is available to students at Smith College and any services that take place in the sanctuary. Please contact the College Organist, Grant Moss, to obtain permission to use it or for lessons, or for his services in programs taking place in the sanctuary.