About the Building Together. In Christ. For Mission. Capital Campaign
Celebrate with us!
To date, more than $3.3 million of the total needed for renovations at the University Lutheran Chapel and the District Office in Seward has been received in gifts and pledges in support of our Building Together. In Christ. For Mission. capital campaign. The Dunklau Foundation has graciously matched $500,000 in gifts earmarked to support the Chapel, and the Lienemann Foundation has added its support by matching new gifts and pledges to the University Lutheran Chapel in Lincoln, up to $200,000.
The goal of the campaign was to support the over $6.0 million in renovations at the University Lutheran Chapel in Lincoln and the Nebraska District LCMS office in Seward. The renovations of the Chapel were completed at a cost of nearly $4.54 million and the renovations at the District office were completed at a cost of nearly $1.27 million.
Because of the support of Nebraska District members and congregations through capital campaign pledges, regular offering gifts, and special designated gifts for campus ministry, the Nebraska District is able to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to those on Nebraska’s university campuses who have never heard of Him.
Congregations and individuals who would like to give to our capital campaign or become partners in campus ministry through regular financial support or a one-time gift can call our office at 888-643-2961, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our District Ministries page at this link for more information. To make a pledge to support this renovation project, visit our pledge page.
Building Together. In Christ. For Mission. Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ #1: What needs did the University Chapel and the District office have?
The University Chapel had around $1 million in deferred maintenance needs. These needs included a leaking roof and foundation, and failing brick in the Chapel’s exterior. Deferring these needs much longer ran the risk of increasing the amount of maintenance required significantly. Furthermore, ignoring these needs could have made the building unsafe for use.
Beyond deferred maintenance, the University Chapel made it difficult to effectively minister to students. The Chapel lacked an entrance that directly faces campus. The building’s exterior was uninviting. The building lacked exterior windows, meaning students passing by could not see God’s love in action inside. A less-than-inviting exterior, along with an inability to see activity inside, left students hesitant to enter the Chapel for the first time. Finally, the Chapel lacked space suitable for large group gatherings, which further develop God’s kingdom among college students.
To better minister to its congregations, the District office needed improvement. First, the District office served 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 needed to be more inviting to guests. This included making the building accessible for those with disabilities. Inside, the old setup lacked space for small and large group meetings. When the District Board of Directors wished to meet, or should our congregations wish to utilize the District office for gatherings, they had to look elsewhere. District staff often conducts business that require privacy. The previous office configurations did not allow for adequate privacy or soundproofing so that sensitive conversations may occur. Finally, technology at the District office needed to be updated to meet the needs 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, replaced ongoing maintenance issues. Within the last 10-15 years, the need for significant updating to the infrastructure at both buildings 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 have the renovations impacted the University Chapel’s mission and ministry?
This renovation changed the whole look and functionality of the Chapel. Instead of a fortress, the street view is now 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, not only enhances worship and meets handicap codes, but gives 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 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.
GracePoint Institute for Relational Health now has offices in the Chapel, providing a new arm of ministry to the UNL campus and the surrounding community.
The intern apartment is 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.
FAQ #4: How have the renovations impacted the District office’s mission and ministry?
Before its renovation, the Nebraska District office was a building with limits in accessibility, technology, and overall usability for the ministry needs of today. The District office serves as a gateway to Seward for visitors arriving from the east, but the previous design was closed off and unwelcoming. So that visitors and Seward residents may know of the ministry occurring within the District office, the building has been designed to be more visually inviting to guests as they enter the town.
The renovation of the District office has created new gathering and meeting spaces, allowing the District staff to host workshops and meetings on-site rather than paying to rent space off-site. The District Office basement has been converted into a new boardroom with kitchenette, allowing meetings for up to 80 people. This space is available free-of-charge for congregations and ministries seeking a venue for an off- site retreat or meeting, to further the District Office’s mission to serve congregations, workers, and members.
The original office configurations did not allow for adequate privacy or soundproofing so that sensitive conversations may occur, and that need was addressed in the renovation.
Those with mobility difficulties previously faced challenges within the District Office. The renovation created an accessible entrance in the lower level on the east side, and a lift near this new entrance offers access to both floors. The updates also included moving the main entrance to the west, near street access and the upper parking lot, allowing for a more logical and visitor-friendly entrance. Entrances and expanded restrooms are also ADA compliant, allowing all to be better served.
Expanded archival space allows the District to better preserve the records of our congregations.
In addition to workplace efficiencies, upgrades were made to the over-worked electrical system and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems were overhauled.