Life at United Methodist House

The house in the Chautauqua season . . .

The United Methodist House is one of the denominational houses at the Chautauqua Institution in southwestern New York state. The House is located at 14 Pratt Avenue on the Chautauqua grounds, just across from the famous Amphitheater.

The most visible part of the house is its broad porch, furnished during the summer months with wicker chairs suggestive of its 19th-century origins. Coffee is available on the porch most mornings and — very welcome on hot days — there's an ice water dispenser as well.

On the main floor of the UM House are a parlor with historic, but comfortable, furnishings; a fireplace; a chapel, open for prayer and meditation when it's not in use for worship services or lectures; and a kitchen, dining room and office that are the headquarters for the House's generous hospitality. Upstairs, the house has six twin-bedded rooms and a four-person suite, and there's an upper porch with a couple of umbrella-shaded tables. The house is surrounded by gardens, one with a bubbling fountain. Free wireless Internet service is available.

During the nine-week Chautauqua season, rooms are for rent on a Saturday-to-Saturday basis, and the UM House serves as a center for worship, fellowship, and learning as well as United Methodist hospitality. It's at the heart of Chautauqua, within listening distance for musical programs in the Amphitheater and a moment's walk to the library, Bestor Plaza and the other places where Chautauqua's world-famous programming takes place. Anyone not familiar with Chautauqua has a world to discover, from gate tickets to lecture etiquette, the Hall of Philosophy to the Refectory. The place to start is the Institution's own web site at

At the United Methodist House itself, a resident hostess and host coordinate the many events that take place at the House during the Chautauqua season, and welcome weekly guests to their rooms. The 2021 season was the last for long-time host couple Karen and Bob Douds, who will be succeeded in the 2022 summer season by Jan and Mike Yauch of Houston. Mike and Jan have spent numerous summers in the Chautauqua area, and are affiliate members of the Hurlbut UMC Church on the Chautauqua Institution grounds.

United Methodist pastors from the Western Pennsylvania and Upper New York Conferences, as well as further away, come to serve as Chaplain of the Week, leading worship on Sunday mornings and other events throughout the week, and chatting with visitors on the landmark porch.

Each week during the season, a number of regular events are scheduled:

  • worship in the chapel at 9:30 Sunday morning
  • refreshments on the porch at 9 p.m. Sunday following the Institution's Sacred Song Service in the Amphitheater
  • a Tuesday noon "chaplain's chat" on the porch or in the chapel
  • a social hour Tuesday at 3:15, with refreshments on the porch
  • the "chaplain's chat" at 7 p.m. Thursday, a presentation on some topic of interest 

The House also provides space for weekly Bible study organized by the Institution's Department of Religion, and for two seminars each week held by the Chautauqua Catholic Community.

. . . and in the retreat season

During the “off” season — the other 43 weeks of the year — the United Methodist House is available as a retreat and renewal center for individuals, families, and church groups. In addition to the family fellowship or church programming that they arrange for themselves, visitors in fall, winter and spring can enjoy the brilliant foliage, snow sports, or lake scenes that make Chautauqua memorable.