The Congregation at Duke University Chapel

Local Missions

Saturday Service Project

Once a month, usually on a Saturday morning, we partner with local nonprofits to join our hands to God’s work in Durham. Through hands-on service, we participate in the life of our community, deepen our relationships with our neighbors, and grow in our awareness of the needs and the resources of Durham. In the past, we have made sandwiches for Meals on Wheels, provided yard work for Reality Ministries, gleaned sweet potatoes with the Society of St. Andrew, and sorted clothing for Urban Ministries of Durham. And we love the chance to talk, laugh, and connect as we work side by side. Check out our eNews and the Sunday bulletin for announcements about upcoming service projects. Watch this short video for more examples of our service projects. Join us any time!

volunteers making sandwiches volunteers making sandwiches

Back Pew Collections

Each month, we designate the last pew of the Chapel as a place to donate tangible goods to one of our mission partners in Durham. Don’t be surprised if you see bags of books, linens, or clothing piled in the back pew! Examples of collections include packaged food in individual servings for Meals on Wheels to take to hungry neighbors and bed linens for the homeless shelter at Urban Ministries of Durham.  Join us in making the abundant love of God physically present in our community!

Habitat for Humanity

workers at a Habitat site

The Congregation has a long-standing commitment to Habitat for Humanity dating from the 1990s. Currently, the Congregation is partnering with Duke University Chapel, the student chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and other university departments to build a Habitat home in Durham each year. We are pleased to work with Habitat for Humanity of Durham in building homes for our neighbors. Please join us as we build another home in the fall!

Urban Ministry Dinners

Urban ministry dinner serversFor more than 20 years, the Congregation has provided a monthly lasagna dinner for our neighbors at the Urban Ministries shelter. The menu of lasagna, bread, salad, fruit cocktail and dessert provides a hearty meal to the approximately 150 people who come to eat. We are committed to providing dinner on the 2nd Sunday of odd-numbered months, and on the 4th Wednesday of even-numbered months. New volunteers are welcome to join the crew at any time. Please contact the Congregation office for more details.

Refugee Resettlement

some children learning

In 2003, we welcomed Bui Ksor and Tok Siu from the highlands of Vietnam, as part of the refugee resettlement necessitated by the persecution of Christians in Vietnam. some youth help distibute food We now have four Montagnard families spanning three generations who are active in the Congregation. We continue to partner with these families who have made Durham their home.

Lenten Service Trip

a cleanup project in SC

The Congregation sponsors a Lenten Service Trip, during the University's spring break, in an effort to show Christian love and care to our neighbors. Volunteers have helped neighbors in North and South Carolina to repair homes impacted by hurricanes and floods. The work included painting, carpentry, drywall installation, and yard work. Their time together included shared meals, devotions, prayer, and laughter. Details on our service trips can be found here.


a group of walkers ready to depart

Each year, the Congregation participates in the CROP Walk, sponsored by Church World Service (CWS). CWS works in over 80 countries worldwide, partnering with agencies focused on hunger and nutrition, clean water, disaster relief, and refugee support. In addition, 25% of the money raised by the CROP Walk remains in Durham for local projects, distributed by Durham Congregations in Action (DCIA). Previously Durham has raised as much as $200,000, one of the largest walks in the nation! Joining in the Walk is healthy and fun, and a chance to mingle with friends from our Congregation and from many faith communities in Durham. Above all, we walk because marginalized people around the world walk every day in order to provide food, water, shelter, and a livelihood for their loved ones. Join us for this walk of solidarity and compassion. The Durham CROP Walk is held on a Sunday afternoon in the spring. Contact the Congregation office for more information.