Our building permits have been issued and our builder, Vanman Architects and Builders is setting up on site! Soon excavation and foundation work will begin. Stay tuned here or at ulcmn.com for (hopefully more regular and frequent) updates and pics from the construction.
As some of you have already heard, construction of our new chapel has been delayed due to issues in getting our building permits from the City of Minneapolis. Recent decisions by the city’s plan reviewer have resulted in issues that could add well over $100K to the cost of construction. While we are hopeful that these issues will soon be settled, the delay has pushed our potential construction start date deeper into the cold months of winter. Beginning construction now would also add significantly to costs (due both to the costs of working in winter and to the reluctance of contractors to bid on the job.) So we have decided both to reconsider the aspects of the chapel design that are causing difficulty with the city’s plan reviewer and to delay construction until the early Spring.
While we are so very eager to get our new chapel built, we are also eager to be cost conscious and to use the resources the Lord has entrusted to us wisely. We ask for your continued prayers as we work through the issues with the City’s plan reviewer, and that all moves forward smoothly, that the new chapel at the U of M be erected as soon as possible.
In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a generous donor has offered to match all gifts received to the Build-it-Back Fund dollar for dollar though the end of October up to $50,000! This is a great time to give thanks to God for the Gospel so freely proclaimed among us by helping us proclaim that Gospel at the U of M with your contribution to the building of the new University Lutheran Chapel!
You can contribute now by clicking the donate now button to the right or by visiting the support page on ulcmn.com where you can also view the latest updates to our fundraising efforts and construction progress.
Here are some pics and the sermon from the groundbreaking service at ULC on Saturday, June 24th. We were filled with joy both to be breaking ground on the new chapel and to see so many of our friends and alumni at the event.
+ Jesu Juva +
Standing Firm on Solid Ground – Luke 6:47-49
Grace, Mercy and Peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen
It is five years to the day since we held the final service at the old University Lutheran Chapel after which that building was vacated and destroyed. At the time and many times in the past five years the words of Psalm 69 have rung true for me, for us:
“Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, Where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, Where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God. Those who hate me without a cause Are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, Being my enemies wrongfully… Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.”
But the Lord heard our prayers and our weeping and has brought us through the floods. And now we stand today ready to begin construction of a new chapel that His Name may dwell in this place again and be proclaimed from here to the nations.
Many thought (and some even hoped) that when the old building fell down, this congregation would fall with it. But our foundations run deeper than backhoes and bulldozers can reach. This congregation had “dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock,” which rock is Christ. And holding fast to Him, praying to Him, treasuring His grace, and treasuring the fellowship He has given us with one another, we were not swept away when the flood came and beat against us. We felt ourselves shaken, but our Lord did not let us fall.
Miraculously the Lord has provided for us all that we need these past several years. He has expanded our ministry in this place, increased our number, and has provided us land and upon which to erect a new house of worship. But He has also increased our awareness that we are not alone, that we have brothers and sisters throughout the Church who have helped hold our heads above the waters and by their prayers and help have been used by God to bring us to this day. And, I believe, He has helped us recognize even more clearly the true nature of the Church as we have suffered with one another, grown with one another, and loved one another by His grace.
And now what shall we do dear brothers and sisters in Christ? Let us build. Not just this chapel, but one another, on Christ. For though we hope this building, once raised, will stand for generations, we know from hard experience that buildings sometimes fall. But our faith, our fellowship, our community, our mission, need not fall, and will not fall so long as we continue to build on Christ. So let us build: faithful to His Word, firm in our confession, gracious and loving in our demeanor, and zealous in our mission.
And the Lord will keep us, for He is gracious. Though we in no wise deserve His favor, He has favored us and kept us. And He will continue to do so, granting us now a font, a pulpit, an altar, a place; where His Word will be proclaimed and His sacraments given for the life of the world and for our forgiveness and life and salvation. Psalm 69, which I quoted earlier, concludes with these words, and so shall I:
“God will save Zion And build the cities of Judah, That they may dwell there and possess it. Also, the descendants of His servants shall inherit it, And those who love His name shall dwell in it.”
The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, to life everlasting.
+ Soli Deo Gloria +
The official groundbreaking ceremony for the new University Lutheran Chapel has been set for Saturday, June 24 at 4 PM. (It will have been five years to the day since we closed the old ULC chapel. Now we cordially invite all of our alumni, supporters and other friends to attend a much happier event and celebrate this milestone with us!
Big Wink’s BBQ (run by Chris Winkelman, who attends ULC with his wife Deb and their two boys) will be cooking up their delicious pulled pork for the dinner after the ceremony. All are invited to stay and join us for supper. We sincerely hope to see you there.
Last Monday the City of Minneapolis Planning Commission voted to approve ULC’s plans for the new chapel, giving us the go-ahead to begin construction. It was a long process, but thanks to the diligence of our building committee and architect working with the city planner assigned to our project, ULC was able to satisfy the city’s requirements and requests regarding the new building and other related property issues. We were also granted the necessary variances to setbacks for the chapel to sit properly on its lot and for us to squeeze in a few extra parking spaces.
The previous Sunday (Rogate Sunday) the ULC Voters Assembly also gave its unanimous approval to the chapel plans and financing. Prior to this meeting every effort was made by the building committee to economize where possible by revising the chapel plans for the sake of cost-savings while preserving, to the best of our abilities, the overall design. This was necessary due to an increase of around $350,000 to the previously received estimate from our builder. About $250,000 of this cost increase resulted from the city’s requirement to move the chapel to the corner lot, necessitating additional square footage for the narthex connection to Luther House, demolition of the current parking lot where the chapel will now sit, and construction of a brand new parking lot. The remainder of the increase is mainly due to inflation. These increases will require ULC to borrow substantially more than what was initially planned.
Work is now underway by our architect to produce working drawings for the builder. Once those drawings have been completed the bidding process will begin for subcontractors. We thank our dear Lord for bringing us to this point at last and pray that He will continue to bless us as we begin building. We ask that you remember ULC in our your prayers, that construction may proceed without impediment.
We are planning to have a ground-breaking ceremony later in June. Watch for an announcement within a week or so!
As the early morning sun’s rays began to shine down on Luther House, one could hear the sound of trucks idling, machinery being fired up, and eventually the crash of destruction. It wasn’t the first time these sounds have been heard by ULC folks, but this time the sounds brought not sorrow and tears, but smiles and joy. Demolition of the house at 1010 4th Street, the house we purchased to acquire land for the new chapel, had begun.
With a great amount of care and precision the backhoe operator began picking away at the huge three-story house a little after 7:30 AM. By 2:00 PM the old house was no more than a pile of shattered beams, broken boards, tattered insulation, and plaster dust. And another milestone was passed on the road to a new chapel at the U of M.
The lot at 1010 will become the parking lot for our new chapel, which will be built upon the corner parking lot abutting both the 1010 lot to the east and Luther House to the south. Come spring we anticipate hearing the sound of machinery again as the ground is broken for the chapel itself.
Thank you to everyone who, with your prayers and your financial support, has helped get us to this point. If you would like to support the construction of the new chapel, but haven’t done so yet; or if you would like to increase your financial contribution to this project, please click the “Donate Now” button to the upper right.
Earlier this week the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Committee (HPC) , met to discuss and vote on University Lutheran Chapel’s design for the new chapel and its connection to Luther House. Luther House is designated as part of the University of Minnesota Greek Letter Chapter House Historic District, and was, at one time, the home of Delta Delta Delta sorority. (You can still see the three deltas on the brick chimney in the center of Luther House’s facade.) As such, every change to the exterior of the structure requires approval of the Heritage Preservation Committee.
After much work with the City Planning office, and after having received feedback from the HPC and the Planning Commission (another committee whose approval we must receive), we submitted our plans for the HPC’s final approval. We were somewhat concerned because the Planning Commission required us to move the chapel forward to the front of the 10th Avenue side of our property, a position which puts it proud of Luther House and could have been seen to overshadow and to detract from the historical property.
Thanks be to God! The HPC approved our plan without any further discussion or debate! Here’s an excerpt from the the proceedings.
One step closer! Next month we go before the Planning Commission for final approval of the project. May God, in His grace, continue to grant us a smooth path, that we may begin construction of the new chapel soon.
By Pastor Kind
We thought we were pretty much there already; that is, until the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission and the Planning Commission couldn’t agree with one another on whether they liked our design or not. Actually it wasn’t the design so much as the placement of the chapel on the property that caused the issue. The Heritage folks loved the whole package we presented, the building, the scale of it, the connection to Luther House (a historic building) and the placement on the lot. The Planning Commission, well… not so much. Minneapolis is trying to eliminate its large surface parking lots and so, while the Planning Commission didn’t have issues with the look of the building, they didn’t like the idea of ULC retaining a corner parking lot (which has been there for the last 35 years). A corner parking lot, they said, would leave “a gaping hole in the urban landscape.” So back to the drawing board we went.
The drawings below show recent updates to the design. The biggest changes revolve around our having to move the building onto the land where the current Luther House parking lot sits and, as a result, reworking the connection to Luther House. We are still tweaking this design (There was a very productive 3 hour meeting with the architect and builder yesterday!), but we think we are getting closer and hope to get the required city approvals over the next few months.
If all goes as planned groundbreaking will likely take place sometime in March. And yes, we are still on track for Reformation 2017!
Please pray that all of the city committees involved approve the design so that we can begin to build on time. Thank you to everyone who has been pledging, giving, and praying!
Be sure to follow our blog as we will have new drawings again soon that will reflect the changes made a yesterday’s meeting.
You can now follow our progress more closely online. In addition to our blog posts here, there will be a monthly update on Build-it-Back fundraising and on the construction of the new chapel at the regular ULC website, ulcmn.org. There is also a direct link to the progress report page at right on this blog, just under the Martin Luther Donation button. We hope this will help everyone supporting the new chapel project have a better idea of just where things stand as we get ever closer to making the chapel plans reality!