A campus ministry’s work on a new chapel for its congregation is nearing completion after its original church was destroyed to make room for other developments.
University Lutheran Chapel has been headquartered in a former sorority house since 2012, since its church was purchased and demolished to allow for the development of The Knoll apartments. Community members said the new location will provide a more accessible worship space near campus for students.
Since 2012, the group has been working to raise funds to move its worship out of the Luther House, where members have spent the last six years attending services, studying, and for some, even living. With the development of a new chapel at 1010 4th St. SE., this ambition is close to realization.
“We never really saw Luther House as a standalone entity or a standalone ministry location,” said David Kind, a pastor with University Lutheran Chapel. “It was always going to be the place that spawned a church building next to it.”
The chapel will sit next to Luther House, located at 316 10th Ave. SE., and will help separate where church members work and worship, Kind said.
The process to build the chapel has been ongoing for several years. While initial efforts were made to prevent demolition of the original church, proceeds eventually moved to building something new.
“Not only is our membership of the congregation really behind it, it’s contributed a lot of money,” said Kind. “But Christians from all over the world have been helping and raising money.”
Kind said he hopes the chapel is completed by March, in time for him to see it dedicated before he begins a sabbatical in May. The building will showcase traditional Christian design with some modern elements.
Samuel Peterman, a University senior and member of the campus non-denominational Christian organization Navigators, said having a chapel in that area would make it easier for students who don’t live near another church to attend services.
“I would say it just brings a more recognizable face to that church and what they’re doing here,” said Peterman. “Because I think it can be hard for students, or just anyone really, to get connected with a church or with really any organization if they don’t know where it is or don’t know about it.”
Caleb Sanchez, a University sophomore and Navigators member, said moving the worship space away from the house is an important step for the church. But Sanchez said he doesn’t think he would attend University Lutheran Church.
“I guess I’d be open, but right now I’m still very connected to my church,” said Sanchez.
Kind said he expects it will take about three more years for the group to complete its fundraising for the chapel, but the church is hopeful about the number of pledges and response from the larger Christian community.
“That’s one of the reasons why, actually … I like being a campus pastor, is you get to have an influence sort of far beyond your borders,” said Kind. “And now, we’re seeing that influence that we’ve had pay back when we’re in need, which is pretty cool.”
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the location of the chapel in relation to Luther House. The chapel will be next to Luther House.