Groundbreaking scheduled for November 19th

A ceremonial groundbreaking has been scheduled for the new home for Lutheran Campus Ministry at 1421 W. 19th, on November 19th.    The new home has been officially named “Westwood House” in honor of Westwood Lutheran Church, a congregation which gave several substantial gifts to make this new home possible for Lutheran Campus Ministry.   The groundbreaking date of November 19th commemorates the first sermon preached at Westwood Lutheran (before it was even named Westwood!) by the first pastor, Carl Wilhelmson, on November 18th, 1905.    Mike Myers, our architect, hopes to have some sketches of the new facility available and on display for the groundbreaking.    The full text of the recent press release continues below:

October 20, 2011
Contact:  Shawn Norris (785) 550-6560; Kevin Boatright, (785) 550-2718

Lutheran Campus Ministry to have a new home at KU

LAWRENCE, KS – After nearly 50 years as a spiritual presence at the University of Kansas, Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM) is about to have a physical home of its own in Lawrence, thanks in large part to the generosity of  a Kansas City church that closed its doors in August.

“We’ve been housed in various places since our founding in 1962,” said Shawn Norris, campus pastor.  “But by the start of the fall 2012 semester we’ll have a permanent address in a visible location just across the street from the campus.  It does feel like the end of a long pilgrimage and the start of something new and exciting.”

LCM is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and its Central States Synod.  Its mission is to be a center of worship, fellowship, witness, and service for students and staff at KU.

In June, LCM acquired the property at 1421 W. 19th St.  It is located near Naismith Avenue at the southern entrance to KU, within walking distance of six residence halls, Stouffer Place Apartments, Allen Fieldhouse, and the Ambler Student Recreation Center.  Pending City of Lawrence approval, LCM plans to renovate the existing house and add on space for use as a chapel and multipurpose room.

“The generosity of Westwood Lutheran Church is what made it possible for us to purchase the property and plan the construction,” said Norris.  The 105-year-old congregation, formerly located at 5035 Rainbow in Mission Woods, voted last summer to disband and sell its property.  LCM and four other organizations shared in the proceeds of the sale: JayDoc Free Clinic at the KU Medical Center through KU Endowment, SAFEHOME assistance for survivors of domestic violence, Roeland Park Emergency Food Pantry, and the ELCA Disaster Response program.  LCM was the single largest beneficiary.

Westwood also contributed to LCM from its memorials fund, and the Westwood Lutheran Women’s Group donated $4,000 to help furnish a new kitchen.

“Westwood strived to be a servant to the local community and the larger church throughout its history,” said Scott Schaefer, former president of the congregation.  “These donations are part of that legacy, and a good way to continue our mission into the future.”

The new LCM facility will be named “Westwood House” in honor of the congregation, said Norris.  Other congregations, alumni, and friends of LCM have also contributed to a fundraising campaign that began in 2009 and concludes in December.  A symbolic groundbreaking ceremony is planned for November 19, and the facility will be dedicated as part of LCM’s 50th anniversary celebration on October 14, 2012.