The Upper Room Chapel is bookended by a life-size woodcarving of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and the 9,000-piece World Christian Fellowship Window. A visit to Nashville is not complete without seeing these beautiful works of art.
As she begins the story that goes back to the 1950s, Kathryn Kimball, the museum and chapel curator says, “When I get started on the chapel, you better pack a lunch.”
Dr. Potts, the man inspired to build the chapel, realized religious artwork was not easily accessible, but the average American could drive to Nashville, Tennessee in about a day’s time. Wanting to provide an international, interdenominational, and interracial place of worship, Dr. Potts contacted Irving & Casson Company in Boston, Massachusetts and commissioned the one-of-a-kind Ernest Pellegrini carving. After fourteen months and a hundred hands of labor, The Last Supper Woodcarving was presented on Holy Week, April of 1953. Six years later, the stained glass was added to complete The Upper Room Chapel.
“He built it for the United States. He built it for the world,” Kathryn continues. In the 1970s and 80s, the chapel received upwards of two thousand visitors a day during some seasons and more than 200,000 a year. These numbers have relaxed considering the shift in Nashville’s tourism traffic, but the chapel remains a vibrant program of The Upper Room. Kathryn is pleased with the chapel’s current number of visitors; The Upper Room Chapel staff get to spend more time with guests, giving each and every one a copy of The Upper Room daily devotional guide, inviting them into our global community of prayer.
The Upper Room believes it is important to prolong the beauty of The Last Supper Woodcarving and the World Christian Fellowship Window and repairs the chapel whenever needs arise. Last week, the chancel ceiling was restored. While everything was covered in plastic covering, the chapel remained open for visitors. Visiting The Upper Room Chapel is more than just the art on the walls; Kathryn hopes it is a meaningful spiritual experience for each visitor.
Visit The Upper Room Chapel today.