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.


City Gives Go-Ahead

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!

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.

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