Tragically our chapel and chapel hall were gutted by a fire. No children or staff were injured. The fire, which broke out at 07:17 on 27 May 2021, was contained, only affecting the seminary’s chapel and chapel hall which are on the periphery of the school’s property. The bricks and structure of these buildings remain completely intact, but the wooden rafters, beams, roof and furniture were entirely destroyed.
The redbrick chapel at the west end of the Seminary was named as a befitting memorial to one of the school’s most loved leaders, Dr Lavinia Scott. American-born Dr Lavinia Scott set sail for South Africa in 1932, to begin a missionary journey that would span 42 years. She learned isiZulu at Adams Mission and taught there for three years before transferring to Inanda Seminary in August 1936 as a teacher, thereafter becoming head of the school in 1939. She retired in 1969, the longest-serving principal to date. She left an unmatched legacy at the Seminary - a wise compassionate visionary who knew the name of every student, who inspired those who walked with her and who established Inanda Seminary as a much-admired renowned education institution in Southern Africa.
Collecting to build the chapel started in 1943, with a donation of £2 from the District Inspector of Native Schools. From then it was a never-ending process, and over the next 10 years £18 000 was donated by more than 5000 people and organisations.
The foundation stone was laid on 9 May 1953. It was opened by Minnie Carter and dedicated by the Rev A F Christofersen on 30 October 1954. The main part of the Chapel seats more than 300, and a transept seats a further 50. On the opposite side of the transept, large folding doors open to a hall that can seat up to 500 people. Woodwork students at the Ohlange Institute nearby made fittings for a prayer room, and students at Adams College made the chancel furniture. The splendid stained-glass chancel window was a gift from the First Congregational Church of Oak Park, Illinois. Click on the image below to view a gallery of photos of the chapel over time.
Up until lockdown in 2020, the Chapel was in daily use for morning devotions and school assemblies. The adjoining hall was used as an examination venue and for extramural and extracurricular activities. In the second half of 2020, both the chapel and hall were used as boarding accommodation. The chapel had recently been returned, although only for one grade at a time, to its original purpose as a place for worship and school assemblies.