Chapel Completed and Dedicated

On September 8, 2019, the new University Lutheran Chapel was dedicated over two worship services, one a Divine Service on Sunday morning, the other an afternoon Vespers service. Over 500 students, members, alumni, parents, donors and other friends attended. The services were followed by a very festive celebration at Luther House that continued well into the evening.

The chapel itself was dedicated at the morning Divine Service using a rite combining the best elements from the Lutheran Service Book Agenda supplemented by elements from the broader history of LCMS worship – including portions from Lutheran Worship Agenda (1984), The Lutheran Agenda (1950?) and Liturgy and Agenda (1936), – from the even broader history of the western rite, and from the ancient Church.

The service began on the sidewalk outside of Luther House despite the incessant drizzle that morning. After a brief address and a prayer, the whole congregation moved in procession to the four corners of the chapel building while either choir or congregation chanted Psalms 87, 20 and 84. At each corner the building was blessed and sanctified by the pastor and a prayer was said: first, that evil continually be driven out of this place by God, second that God would hear the prayers of His people offered up in the chapel, third that the chapel would be a sign of the Gospel to the community, and finally that people who are seeking God would receive forgiveness of sins and eternal joy in the chapel.

Next the procession moved to the doors of the church, which were still firmly shut. There another collect was said asking that those who enter the chapel may, by God’s help, please Him with their worship and, by His grace, receive salvation. Then the pastor knocked up the doors with the base of the processional crucifix. This was followed with a portion of Psalm 24, demanding entrance to the chapel and that the doors be opened to the congregation in the name of Christ.

P. Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.

Voice from within the chapel:  Who is this King of glory?

P. The Lord strong and mighty. 

P. Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.

Voice from within the chapel:  Who is this King of glory?

P. The Lord strong and mighty. The Lord mighty in battle.

P. Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.

Voice from within the chapel:  Who is this King of glory?

C: The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Open! Open! Open!

As the congregation shouted the words “Open! Open! Open!” the doors of the chapel were flung wide at last. The threshold was blessed, and the congregation entered. This first portion of the liturgy was intended to be very public, and somewhat of a spectacle, for the sake our University neighborhood, that they may see that something special was happening and that a new church was now open for the proclamation of the Gospel in their midst.

Once inside, Veni Creator Spiritus, the traditional hymn sung at the dedication of churches, was sung in English (LSB #498) while the pastor blessed the interior walls of the chapel building. The font (donated by the now defunct Lamb of God Lutheran Church) and organ were blessed next, followed by the singing of the Kyrie and the first public sounding of the new Rodgers Organ! Next, the altar, rebuilt using the black marble from the altar of the old ULC chapel, was dedicated with prayer, and then anointed with oil and incense while Psalm 23 was chanted by the congregation. New paraments designed and created especially for the occasion were also dedicated and the altar was vested.

The Divine Service continued as usual with the Gloria in Excelsis, Salutation and Collect, Readings and chanted responses (including a festive alleluia verse sung by a festival choir made up of alumni, students, members and friends), and the Nicene Creed. The Hymn of the Day was “Build on the Rock,” the hymn whose text so dominated the closing service of the old chapel using a festive setting composed by our own Jacquelyn Magnuson. After the hymn, the pulpit (also donated by Lamb of God Lutheran) was dedicated and then mounted by our own pastor who delivered a sermon on I Kings 8:22-30, the dedication of the Temple of Solomon.

The liturgy continued according to the normal rite throughout the rest of the service and the distribution of the Sacrament of the Altar. During the communion, Psalm 122 was chanted by the chapel choir, and the hymns were sung: “Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face” LSB #631, “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” LSB #940, “The Gifts Christ Freely Gives” LSB #602, “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” LSB #655, and “O Jesus, Blessed Lord to Thee” LSB #632. The recessional hymn was LSB #644, “The Church’s One Foundation,” followed by an organ postlude “Toccata and Fugue on Holy God, We Praise Thy Name,” written by Jeffrey Blersch and performed by Jacquelyn Magnuson who also led the festival choir and played organ throughout the service. The chapel choir was led by our regular choir director, Jeff Brueske. There was also a sextet of brass and tympani.

The afternoon Vespers service was a more basic service, but was equally joyful and full of music, including both choirs and all of the instrumentalists who played at the morning service. Blessing was spoken by our Minnesota South District President, Rev. Dr. Lucas Woodford. And the sermon was given by our beloved former pastor, Rev. Prof. John T. Pless. After the service greetings were given to the congregation by President Woodford on behalf of the District and by Rev. Marcus Zill on behalf of LCMS campus ministry.

We were so happy to have many students (some of them attending for the very first time!), alumni and supporters join us for what was a truly joyous day, and a monumental day for the life of our congregation. People came from around the nation, some flying from as far as California, Texas and Massachusetts just to be there. There were alumni from every decade of ULC’s ministry since the late 1940’s, including even one who was at the dedication of the old ULC chapel! And there were many dear friends who have upheld our congregation in their prayers the past seven years, and many who donated generously to make our new chapel a reality.

The congregation of University Lutheran Chapel has now been worshipping in the new chapel for several weeks. We have met and worshipped with dozens of new students and a few new families too. We have seen joy on the faces of our long-time members. So far the chapel is loved by all, even as we work out the inevitable kinks that come with settling in to a new place. We are thankful to our Lord for this wonderful house of worship; and we pray that His Gospel may ring forth from the new chapel for many generations.

(Photos below)

P.S. It has been a long time since we’ve updated this page. Our apologies to all of you who have been following our progress and have been wondering how the project has fared. We thank you for your steadfast support.

Interior

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One thought on “Chapel Completed and Dedicated”

  1. So happy for your congregation on the completion of your new chapel. What a blessing this will be for ministering to the U of M students and all others whom God sends your way.

    Like

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