Canterbury House is a radically welcoming center for faith, music, art, and activism that serves the University of Michigan community.
At Canterbury House:
We welcome people of all faiths and none, without reservation or attempted indoctrination.
We encourage grappling with hard moral, spiritual and theological questions.
We’re engaged with the issues of student debt and economic insecurity.
We reject the cultures of violence, racism, patriarchy, homophobia and transphobia.
The atmosphere is relaxed, the worship is informal and accessible, and the tea kettle is on the stove. During the week we offer an open door, a quiet place, and a listening ear, as well as discussion groups, Bible studies, and social activities. We are committed to engagement with all of creation, so here you will also find social activism on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed.
Every Wednesday evening at 6:00pm, Canterbury House offers a delicious, free home-cooked meal to all students. Come enjoy good food in a warm, welcoming community setting — no strings attached! Supper always includes vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, and we are happy to accommodate other dietary needs upon request.
Canterbury House has served as a home away from home, a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ students, a gathering place for activist student organizations, and a terrific concert venue over the course of its 130 years as a campus ministry. It has been labeled the most progressive religious organization on the University of Michigan campus.
In particular, Canterbury House has been known as a haven for anti-war activists, and for being one of the premier small concert venues in the country. In the 1960s, musicians such as Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens, Gordon Lightfoot, The Byrds, and Janis Joplin made Canterbury House one of the finest intimate venues in the United States. The Students for a Democratic Society, with leaders like Alan Haber and Tom Hayden, met in the House’s basement to plan actions in protest against the Vietnam War. In the current decade, Canterbury House has hosted musicians such as Michelle Chamuel, Theo Katzman, and Joey Dosik, as well as hosting the Student Union of Michigan, a campus activist organization.
Matthew was originally born and raised a Southern Baptist in Alabama and found the Episcopal Church through campus ministry at the University of Virginia. In the last decade of his life and ministry he’s worked with young adults, the LGBTQ+ community, two quiet parishes in Hawaii and buildless churches asking fundamental questions about the commitment of their resources to building up the community around them. He enjoys conversations about the Meaning of It All, comic books, techno, playing with his dog (Bear!) and traveling on a shoestring.
What’s a chaplain?
The word comes from a half of a cloak torn by the Roman Soldier St. Martin of Tours. St. Martin saw a man standing by the roadside who had no clothes. Martin cut his soldiers cape in half to help clothe the man. The other half of the cloak, the cappella, became a sacred relic of the kings of France. The priest responsible for this relic when it traveled about became the chaplain, a word derived from cappella. A chaplain, then, is someone who travels about and shares life with others.
(Lovingly borrowed from the Episcopal chapel at Berkeley)
Jean Westhead was born in Liverpool, England. She has more than 25 years’ experience working in nonprofit organizations in Michigan. In her spare time you can find Jean taking photographs and hiking in one of Ann Arbor's many parks and nature areas. In 2016, she discovered the joy of long distance hiking while walking the Camino Frances with her family.
Mercer Patterson is a composer/pianist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Performing in a number of different styles, Mercer has had the opportunity to play at numerous venues in both NYC and Michigan, including the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Jazz Gallery, National Sawdust and the Blue Llama. He leads several of his own projects, all while completing his Bachelor's degree at The University of Michigan. His debut album Eternity Switch was released this past fall on all major streaming platforms.