Construction Ahead… Expect Delays

Expect DelaysIt seems that every building project faces some delays, so I suppose that it was inevitable that ULC’s new chapel project would face them too.

Due to new and higher cost estimates from our builder, some revisions are being made to our plans. New design drawings will be shared on as soon as we have them. We hope to make such changes as will have a minimal impact on the structure, layout and aesthetic of the nave and chancel; and that will cut expenses on items that can either be redesigned, eliminated altogether, or eliminated temporarily to be added back at some time in the future.

Because of the need for revision, the plans have not yet been submitted to the city of Minneapolis Planning Commission. We hope to bring the design to them next month for their final approval. This means that groundbreaking will now be delayed until June or July. And completion of the new chapel has, therefore, also been delayed well beyond our original target date of Reformation 2017. We now anticipate construction to be finished by February or March of 2018.

On the bright side, our fundraising efforts went very well in 2016 and continue to go well in 2017 too. Cash and pledges received through March 31, 2017 for the new chapel project total $1,889,392.02. Included in this total are $214,250.93 in outstanding pledges of $350,784.94 pledged in 2016, and the $500,000 grant received from the Minnesota South District in 2016. $45,827 has been spent so far on construction.

Please continue to pray with us that the chapel construction may begin soon. If you are contributing to the Build-it-Back fund, we say a very big “thank you” to you. If you have not contributed yet or would like to do so again, you can do so by clicking the Martin Luther “Donate Now” button to the right of your screen. With increased building costs every contribution matters.


Making Room for the Chapel

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.

You can watch the video of the entire 5 ½ hour demo, reduced to 2 minutes, here at our Youtube channel.

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.

December Matching Challenge Met!

Thank you to everyone who has been supporting the Build-it-Back project for the new chapel at the U of M. I am pleased to report that in December ULC received nearly $100,000 toward the project ($97,576). Around $60K of this was monies received in fulfillment of previous pledges. The rest was comprised of new gifts, several from first-time supporters of the project.

We had set an ambitious goal of raising $500K in pledges and gifts in 2016. We fell a little short of that goal, but are so very thankful for the generous support of all of our friends, alumni, members and other donors. Our fundraising total for 2016 was $346,670. Of that amount, $200,665 was received outright, the rest being pledges that will be fulfilled over the next 2-3 years. These amounts do not include the $500,000 district grant which was also presented to us in December.

You can keep up with the chapel project and funding by visiting the Construction Update page. And again, thank you for your prayers for and contributions toward the new chapel!

Two Days Left for Matching Funds

hourglassIt is hard to believe that 2016 is nearly over. Thankfully there are still a few days left in this quickly aging year to have your contributions to the Build-it-Back fund matched dollar for dollar. You can make your tax-deductible donation by clicking on the Donate Now button to the upper right of this page. And a big thank you to everyone who is helping us to Build-it-Back.

If you would like to keep up with the progress of the fund and the new chapel, please visit the new website’s support page and click on the Construction and Fundraising Update link.

Another Step Closer!

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. screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-7-31-32-pm

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.


$20,000 Gift Matching for December

second-sunday-advent-wreathThe Advent and Christmas seasons are truly wonderful times of the year. The hymnody, the lessons, and preaching of Advent turn our hearts again to Christ our Lord in penitence and anticipation. Christmas answers with its own set of glorious hymns and carols, and the preaching of the incarnation of our Lord who came to redeem and save us, and who will come again at the end of time to bring His Church to His side as the Bride to her Husband.

While we look forward to the glorification of the Church and all her saints in heaven on that great day, we also recognize the need of the Church on earth for her Bridegroom’s graces now; and for a place to gather to receive those graces. This is why we build churches. This is why we are building a new chapel at the University of Minnesota.

Which brings us to another reason that this is a great time of year. During the month of December your contributions to the Build-it-Back fund will be doubled, up to a total of $20,000 thanks to a very generous donor who has once again offered this matching grant. You can give in person, by mail or online (click the Luther/Donate Now image to the right). Simply label your gift “Build-It-Back”.

Getting Closer to a Final Design

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.




F:PROJECTS12152 University Lutheran Chapel6-CADml-12152 A2.

Progress Reports Available

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, 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!

A Life-Long Impact

by Pastor Kind

Returning from vacation yesterday I confronted the inevitable stack of mail. There was the usual: a lot of junk mail, a vestment catalog, some stuff from CPH and the Synod… and a really nice note from a 1950 alumna of ULC! She had received a mailing we had sent requesting updated contact information, and had gotten our most recent newsletter, and decided to write to us to tell us about her life and family.

She had met her husband, who recently passed away, at ULC as a student. They were both members of Gamma Delta (ULC’s Lutheran student group at that time), as were her two brothers. She says briefly about her experience at the chapel: “we were so grateful to have Gamma Delta around when we attended the University. Rev. Norden was known as a Matchmaker and he did a good job of bringing students to the Y where we met on Sunday nights until the chapel was built later. We learned a lot at Gamma Delta…”

Also in the stack of mail, sent separately, was a brief note from this dear alumna’s son, who, going through his parents things, as children eventually must do for aging parents, found the following carefully preserved after all of these years:

1949ish Outreach Card

Now I don’t know if the students I get the privilege of serving this year will save our outreach brochure for the next 60 odd years or not. But I do know that the experiences they will have at ULC – meeting other Lutheran students, growing in their knowledge of Christ’s Word, receiving His good gifts of grace, serving others – will have a life-long impact on them, just as they did for this dear woman and her husband.

You might note how prominently the then-planned-for chapel played on this outreach card. Our alumna also wrote: “On our last trip to Minneapolis we saw where the new chapel is to be built. We were very disappointed when the original chapel was sold and torn down, but felt better when we saw that the new site is still near campus.”

A new chapel plays prominently in our minds too as we gear up for another school year and look forward to meeting another group of new students. As we get closer to being able to break ground, I again invite you help make the new chapel a reality by your prayers and with your financial contribution to the Build-it-Back fund. By doing so, you’ll be helping to make a life-long impact on students, stretching even into eternal life.

Building a New LC-MS Chapel at the U of M