Are you searching for a unique location to host your next business meeting, social gathering or function, workshop or seminar? Seamen’s Church Institute is pleased to share this historic facility with individuals, businesses and organizations for professional or private gatherings. Our recent renovations and updates have made our meeting rooms even more inviting, and by the end of 2010, all levels of our building will be more easily accessible to visitors with disabilities.
Check out what we have to offer online or stop by for a visit! A Facility Contract is available upon request with additional details and rental fees.
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The Chapel of the Sea
The Chapel of the Sea is a quiet space in the bustle of Newport’s busy waterfront. Dedicated in 1933, the chapel was given to the Institute by Mrs. Hamilton Fish Webster in memory of her mother, Marie Caroline Helene Jeanne Caroline de Keridern de Trobriand Post who is remembered for her care and concern for all sailors everywhere.
The inspiring frescoed walls of the Chapel were designed and painted by muralist and portrait artist Durr Freedley, who also did frescoes for Trinity Church in New York City and St. John’s Church in Newport. His paintings on the four walls depict a gathering of saints of Christian legend and history long associated with the Sea. The altar is an intricately carved and embellished sail-cloth held by nautical knots. This altar hanging is etched with subjects relating the life of our Lord and his Eucharist.
The tile design of the floor suggests the bottom of the Sea and is inlaid with sea shells and sea weed. In the center is a compass of good qualities – Duty, Faith, Honor, Obedience, Love, Hope, Courage, and Charity. In the center of the ceiling, a cartouche shows the Hand of God ruling over the four elements, shown by emblems of Earth, Fire, Air, and Water.
The cornice between the walls and ceiling bears the verse from Psalm 107: “They that go down to the Sea in ships, and occupy their business in great waters; these men see the works of The Lord and His wonders in the deep. For He maketh the storms to cease so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they are at rest, and so He bringeth them unto their desired haven.”
The Chapel of the Sea is available for small weddings, baptisms, memorial services, or quiet contemplation and respite. The space will accommodate 20 standing or 15 seated guests.
The Lounge offers an elegant setting for those patronizing the Café, for simply relaxing by the fireplace in the comfortable arm chairs, or accessing the public computer and internet access. A doorway from the Lounge opens onto the small Memorial Garden. The Lounge is available for private events. Call for more details!
The Library for Mariners, named after Seamen’s long-time supporter and sailing luminary Henry H. “Harry” Anderson, Jr., provides a comfortable setting for mariners or the general public to sit in our paneled library to read books and periodicals on marine topics, or gain access to the internet through our WiFi connection.
We welcome mariners and the community at large to come and experience this wonderful room within the Seamen’s facility, or reserve this unique space for a meeting or seminar. The room accommodates 100 people standing, 75 in auditorium style seating, 38 people in class room style with tables & chairs, 38 people for a sit down meal, or 16-22 people for a conference style meeting.
SCI Memorial Garden
A small pocket of green and flowers, the Memorial Garden at Seamen’s, is a comfortable place to come for rest and relaxation, or to host a small garden party.
MURAL and MAP at the SEAMEN’S CHURCH INSTITUTE
MURAL – Mounted in foyer of the Seamen’s Church Institute is William Holland Drury’s (1888-1960 – marine etcher) dramatic 1930 square mural depicting Narragansett Bay in the format of an antique chart, embellished with symbols of his personal life and historic episodes on the Bay. The mural was donated by the Goddard family, and it is from the recollections of the artist’s daughter, Hope Drury Goddard, and grandson, Thomas P. I. Goddard that the following explanation of the symbols is derived.
Some images are readily identifiable, such as Arthur Curtiss James’s globe circling ship, Aloha. The James and Goddard families were close friends afloat and ashore, the wives having especial appreciation for gardens and horticulture. Also present is the battleship U.S.S. New York (identified via her code flags by her official publication The Knickerbocker) which relates to Drury’s naval service in WWI as well as the traditional naval presence in Newport – appropriate, also, respecting the role of SCI as a “Haven for all men and women of the sea.” The Grand Banks fishing schooner towing a dory, according to the family, stems from Drury’s love of the Banks and fishing. Interpolation from his etchings of watercolors of a fisherman and captain, for which he used Ted Sturtevant as a model, suggests that the schooner and dory are an allegory for the father/daughter relationship. His long tenure as head of the Art Department of St. George’s School is symbolized by the Cross of St. George on Aquidneck Island where the school is located.
More details about the Mural here.
MAP – A rare 1860 map of Aquidneck Island contains names of plot owners as well as designations for the Old Colony Railroad and Ocean Drive, marked with the caption “to be built.” When owned by John Auchincloss (1810-1876), a successful New York merchant who built a summer house in the Point section of Newport, the map had been mounted as separate pieces on a linen backing in order to be folded as a portable travel map. It was later reassembled in one piece for display purposes by the Northeast Documentation Center in Andover MA, and donated to the Seamen’s Church Institute by Hugh D. “Yusha” Auchincloss III in 2005 in honor of Henry H. “Harry” Anderson, Jr., a Seamen’s Trustee, in the Library named after him.
Whether you are planning for 10 or 100, Seamen’s can accommodate your needs
with some distinctive advantages:
- Location – SCI’s waterfront building offers both historic ambiance and convenience, ideal for hosting gatherings coinciding with boat shows and downtown Newport events.
- Flexibility – One hour to full day meetings, receptions, evening events, parties, weddings, rehearsal dinners….all are welcome!
- Affordability – Our rates are very reasonable and proceeds go directly to supporting Seamen’s and our mission
- On-Site Catering – From beverage and refreshment service, lunches, to a full breakfast, the Aloha Café can cater to your meeting needs. Or, we can provide a list of catering vendors with a full-service kitchen available for events held after the Café’s hours or when liquor service is desired.
- Technology-friendly – Internet access is available on the first and second floors of the Seamen’s facility; conference calling set-up is also available. We also can provide a projection screen upon request.