Building Together. In Christ. For Mission. Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ #1: What needs do the University Chapel and the District office have?
The University Chapel has around $1 million in deferred maintenance needs. These needs include a leaking roof and foundation, and failing brick in the Chapel’s exterior. Deferring these needs much longer runs the risk of increasing the amount of maintenance required significantly. Furthermore, ignoring these needs could make the building unsafe for use.
Beyond deferred maintenance, the University Chapel does not effectively minister to students. The Chapel lacks an entrance that directly faces campus. The building’s exterior could be more inviting. The building lacks exterior windows, meaning students passing by cannot see God’s love in action inside. A less-than-inviting exterior, along with an inability to see activity inside, leaves students hesitant to enter the Chapel for the first time. Finally, the Chapel lacks space suitable for large group gatherings, which further develop God’s kingdom among college students.
To better minister to its congregations, the District office needs improvement. First, the District office serves as a gateway to Seward for visitors arriving from the east. So that visitors and Seward residents may know of the ministry occurring within the District office, the building must be more inviting to guests. This includes making the building accessible for those with disabilities. Inside, the existing setup lacks space for small and large group meetings. Should the District Board of Directors wish to meet, or should our congregations wish to utilize the District office for gatherings, they must look elsewhere. District staff often conducts business that require privacy. Current office configurations do not allow adequate privacy or soundproofing so that sensitive conversations may occur. Finally, technology at the District office, needs updating to meet the need of staff and visitors.
FAQ #2: What planning has gone into addressing the needs at the University Lutheran Chapel and the District Office?
These needs are not new. For years, patch solutions, rather than major repairs, have replaced ongoing maintenance issues. Within the last 10-15 years, the need for significant updating to the infrastructure at both buildings has become apparent.
In September 2015, the District’s Board of Directors created the Properties Committee to evaluate the needs at both facilities and develop plans for addressing those needs. The work of the Properties Committee resulted in the renderings and cost estimates shared on the District website.
FAQ #3: How will the renovations impact the University Chapel’s mission and ministry?
This renovation will change the whole look and functionality of the Chapel. Instead of a fortress, the street view will be friendly and inviting to everyone coming to the Chapel for specific events such as Divine Services, Bible studies, or simply a place to study and relax.
A flat floor in the sanctuary along with the flexibility of chairs will not only enhance worship and meet handicap codes, but will give us a valuable tool to build good will on campus among students looking to host dinner parties, dances, wedding receptions, etc.
Volunteers who serve Sunday lunch each week after worship will love the kitchen on the main floor near the sanctuary. Providing a space for students to cook for each other, host movie parties, and invite their friends into a church to meet their “church friends” is huge ministry.
Other improvements include full handicap accessibility, updated restrooms, new office spaces, classrooms in the basement that will be a source of income for the ministry, efficient heating and air conditioning, updated electrical, more quiet study space, and a conference and game room.
The intern apartment will be larger and ideal for hosting social gatherings. These young men not only clean the building, maintain the landscaping, provide security, manage the parking lot, shovel snow and schedule the building usage but they also take on key leadership roles in the ministry as they live in community together under pastoral mentoring.