Our new home
Letter from David Crawford, On behalf of President Nieman, Deans Menn and Davidson, and JKM Interim Director Barry Hopkins | 3.27.23
As you all know, we are in the process of planning the separation of that portion of the JKM collection that will be placed in the care of and consolidated with the University of Chicago Library System (what we refer to as the “Consolidated Collection”.) The Consolidated Collection consists of approximately 150,000 items identified by the University Library System. The books that remain (the “Remainder Collection”) consists largely of materials that the University Library System already has in its collection. In the weeks ahead, a special working group consisting of the two seminary presidents, the two deans, an LSTC faculty representative, a McCormick faculty representative, Professor Ken Sawyer, and, of course, our interim library director, Barry Hopkins, will be working with our outside consultants to determine which volumes within the Remainder Collection ought to be retained by JKM and where those volumes are most appropriately housed. This working group is also charged with planning for continuity of service in the transitional year ahead, as well as evaluating options and making recommendations to our respective faculties and boards regarding the vision and strategy for JKM moving forward. This is critically important work to the educational missions of both schools and President Nieman and I are grateful for the wisdom and thoughtfulness of our colleagues in this effort.
Continuity of service in the transition and doing what we can to ensure our capacity to care for library needs of our students and faculties will present challenges particularly as we move toward the physical move of the Remainder Collection during the summer. Consequently, we are extraordinarily grateful that both Barry Hopkins and Emilie Pulver will continue on in their current roles for at least the year ahead. With respect to our two other long-time JKM employees, Elaine Bonner and Burmaa Kaylin, Elaine has opted to retire at the end of this month. Elaine has been with us for 23 years and it is truly a bittersweet moment as we say both farewell and thank you to Elaine for her many years of service. Burmaa, who has been part of our JKM family for 18 years, has agreed to stay on in a part-time capacity through June 30, 2023. We are thankful that Burmaa will be staying on to assist us over the next three months as we prepare for JKM’s relocation. Interim Director Barry Hopkins will continue to manage current student employees for the remainder of the school year and will, with the guidance of the two Deans and others, develop student staffing plans for the year ahead. Please stop by JKM or send a note to express our deep appreciation to our dedicated JKM staff.
Letter to campus partners regarding the sale of our campus building | 3.9.23
Dear members and friends of the LSTC community:
I am pleased to report that we have reached the culmination of our building sale to the University of Chicago. At midnight Thursday, the dozen or so building services we have been responsible for will be terminated, and the university will assume these services in whatever ways they determine. By Friday, and for the first time in fifty-seven years, we will be the sole occupant in a building we no longer own. It is a bittersweet time of change and also a long-anticipated moment.
Join me in thanking the stalwart crew who has shepherded this process all along: our attorney, Arnie Karolewski, our broker, Jim Hanson, the entire executive cabinet, and especially our CFO, Richard Vivian, and our incomparable Senior Project Manager for Facilities, Bob Berridge. We happily owe them each an immense debt of gratitude, and I hope some of you might consider writing a note of appreciation.
During this very month in 2019, our board and cabinet leadership held a retreat with Beth Lewis, former CEO of 1517 Media, in which we first explored the question of whether our mission depended upon owning a building or might better be served by claiming a distinctive place but without ownership burdens. The board opted for the latter, and the ensuing four years (yes, four years) have been nothing less than a full exploration of what such a future would entail and the work it would require.
We still have a distance to go—completing the decommissioning, overseeing the buildout, and moving to the new facility—but our campus community has been strong all along the way. I trust we will remain so in the stages ahead.
While ownership of the building is no longer ours, through the end of our stay, much of how we’ve experienced the building will remain the same. This includes the seminary’s building operation hours, access to the mailroom, and the process for receiving support for building operations and making room reservations. Be on the lookout for a message from Bob Berridge about which portions of the facility are ours to use freely and those places from which we are restricted.
Finally, I am thankful for all of you and for God’s providence and guidance for our fine school. May God bless our efforts in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
James Nieman, PhD
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 East 55th Street
Chicago, IL 60615
Letter To Campus Community Announcing the Sale of the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ | 2.8.23
Dear campus community:
As friends and supporters of LSTC well know, the Ruth and Paul Manz organ (Bigelow opus 31) has graced our chapel and filled it with music since 2004. In light of our building sale to the University of Chicago and our relocation to the campus of Catholic Theological Union we also knew that the instrument must be relocated to a new home where its purpose and potential could still be realized.
With respect to the history and value of the instrument among our wider constituencies, we used a multilevel approach to advertising the organ’s availability. In late November, the original builder (Bigelow) began to share the news privately, with a listing on Organ Clearing House starting shortly thereafter. Then on December 5, we sent a news release to alumni and friends about the sale, also posted on our website, indicating a decision by January 15.
During the listing period, we received seven expressions of serious interest from around the country. This was a solid response rate due to the number of organs on the market and the inherent challenges in selling such instruments.
We are therefore delighted to announce that we have accepted a favorable offer from The Church of the Blessed Sacrament, a Roman Catholic parish in Seattle, Washington, which will begin the disassembly and relocation of the instrument in mid-May this year.
Blessed Sacrament is an ideal new home for the Manz organ. The instrument will be one of two organs in the sanctuary of a parish with an active, extensive church music program. The parish will continue the name of the Ruth and Paul Manz organ, including an account of its origins with us. It will be actively used in weekly liturgies and for musical instruction, from children to the University of Washington students. Blessed Sacrament will also maintain an organ recital series that honors Ruth and Paul Manz by name. To learn more about Blessed Sacrament’s organ project and their plans for the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ, read the update in their weekly church bulletin, pages 5 and 6.
Regarding the organ’s purchase, relocation, and installation, Rev. Erik Christensen, Pastor to the Community and Director of Strategic Initiatives, said, “For nearly twenty years, LSTC’s worship has been supported and enriched by the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ. For many of our students, staff, and faculty—both past and present—it is a primary symbol of our life together in this place. I am personally grateful for those whose gifts to the seminary made it possible for us to benefit from this extraordinary instrument for all these years, and I am delighted to know that it will continue to support the assembly’s song in its new home in the community of The Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Seattle.”
In further response, Michael Plagerman, Director of Sacred Music at Blessed Sacrament, said, “For over 100 years, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament has worshipped without the leadership and inspiration of a fine pipe organ. The Manz organ is a providential answer to prayer that will inspire and uplift our parishioners, area students, and Seattle as a whole.”We invite friends and supporters of LSTC who would like to hear the Manz organ in concert before it leaves our building to register and attend the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Recital Series in the Augustana Chapel from 12:15-12:45 p.m. on the dates listed below:
Manz Organ Recital Series
|March 7||Patricia Spencer|
|April 18||Christopher Urban|
|May 2||Michael Rees|
Save the Date
Manz Organ Farewell Music Festival and Leave-Taking Chapel Service
We also ask that you save the date and join us Thursday, May 11, from 4 -8:30 p.m. for the Manz Organ Farewell Music Festival and Leave-Taking Chapel Service. This event is the final opportunity to celebrate the Manz organ and the time we’ve shared as a community in our building. We hope to see you there! For details related to this event, please visit our website.
For further information about these performances for the Ruth and Paul Manz organ, please contact Dr. Keith Hampton, Cantor to the Seminary Community, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago Announces its Relocation to New Hyde Park Location in Summer 2023 | 1.11.23
The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) is pleased to announce its summer 2023 relocation to the campus of Catholic Theological Union (CTU) at 5416 South Cornell in Hyde Park. This news follows the seminary’s decision, shared in a joint public announcement last May, to sell its current facility in Hyde Park to the University of Chicago.
“This move is a pivotal moment in our history as we position our school to be a thriving global seminary that forms leaders sent into the world,” said LSTC President James Nieman in a video message to the campus community. “Our school will be on stronger financial footing, able to invest in strategic areas while opening the door for innovation and growth.”
Under the terms of a mutual letter of intent, LSTC will be able to lease from Catholic Theological Union through at least 2048. This agreement grants LSTC access to the space on CTU’s fourth floor. While a portion of this space is already designed and finished, LSTC has engaged the CVG Architectural firm to complete the remaining west half of the fourth floor, including offices, classrooms, meeting rooms, gathering areas, and a chapel.
“We’re delighted to have the Lutheran School of Theology join us in our building,” said Barbara Reid, OP, President of CTU. “Sharing our space with LSTC will bring numerous benefits to both schools, building on our existing modes of collaboration through the Association of Chicago Theological Schools. This agreement also demonstrates a responsible use of space and resources in the spirit of Pope Francis’ vision of Laudato Si.”
For more information regarding the new location, please watch President Nieman’s video message to the campus community. You can stay up-to-date regarding the sale and relocation of LSTC by visiting our relocation website at lstc.edu/relocation.
Letter to campus partners regarding the sale of the Ruth & Paul Manz Organ | 12.5.22
When you enter LSTC’s Augustana Chapel, it is likely the first thing to catch your eye, not solely for its grandeur but also its beauty. Standing twenty-five feet tall and sixteen feet wide, the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ has undoubtedly etched its image and sounds in the memory of anyone blessed to experience it.
Named in honor of the late and legendary Professor Emeriti Paul Manz and his wife Ruth, for nearly two decades, this glorious organ has offered up the sounds of praise from the corner of 55th and University to the gates of heaven. Gifted to LSTC through the generosity of donor support, its music has filled our halls and hearts with worship, welcoming in the spirit of God. Through the wind sounds of this instrument and the talented musicians playing it, many souls have been touched, and lives changed.
Now, as LSTC enters Phase 4 of our campus relocation plan—nearing the close of our campus sale and soon to announce our new relocation site in Hyde Park—we must also begin the search for a new home for our beloved organ.
While we would love to take the organ to our new location, its size, custom-built for Augustana Chapel, is too large and will not fit in our new space. Through our agreement with the University of Chicago, the organ must be moved by May 12, 2023.
That is why we’re reaching out to you, our network of alumni, friends, churches, and supporters. Many in our community share our deep connection to the Manz Organ because of its central role in the seminary’s life since 2004.
While we currently have a qualified prospect who has expressed very strong interest, we want to ensure our broader community knows the organ is being sold and can bid for it too.
We want this powerful instrument to continue as a gift to the wider church. We believe the relationship to its namesake and roots within the Lutheran community make it a natural fit with potential buyers in our extended community.
Can you help us share this news with individuals or faith communities who might be interested in purchasing the Manz Organ by sending them a link to our Manz Organ Sale website at LSTC.edu/ManzOrganSale?
Because time is of the essence, potential buyers must make their final offer by January 15, 2023. For questions related to the organ sale, please email email@example.com with the email subject Manz Organ Sale.
Stay updated on LSTC’s sale and relocation by visiting LSTC.edu/relocation.
LSTC moves toward new Hyde Park site | 11.9.22
Following the campus relocation meetings with students, faculty, and staff, the LSTC Board of Directors (BOD) convened on Wednesday, Oct. 26, in a special two-hour meeting to select the site with which LSTC would pursue its further long-term lease negotiations—taking the seminary one step further to determine its new home.
The BOD heard presentations from LSTC tenant representatives Avison Young; a summary of the campus relocation meetings by Pastor Erik Christensen and Keisha Dyson, executive director of Strategic Marketing and Communications; followed by a recommendation to the board by President James Nieman.
Because information related to the site negotiations is sensitive and will remain so until negotiations are final, the board’s decision will not be announced publicly.
“I am grateful for the leadership of and participation in our entire review process, stretching back to last May,” Nieman said. “Likewise, I am thankful for the wise discernment of our board of directors in setting direction for our school and showing such care in their role in shared governance.”
The seminary plans to announce a decision regarding the new campus location early in the new year.
LSTC: A School in Motion | 8.25.22
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) is preparing to lead theological education well into the 21st century, rooted by our Lutheran traditions, guided by our mission and strategic plan, and inspired by a world in need of ministry marked by diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.
The pandemic led us to rethink where we work, how we connect, and what we teach as we tried to be even more sound stewards of our resources. As a result, LSTC emerged as a stronger faith community – and a school still in motion as we learn to be a new kind of seminary.
You likely heard by now—LSTC is moving. After three years of Board review, two years of strategic planning, and one year of negotiations, the sale of our main education facility will close later this year. We will cede ownership of our fifty-six-year-old home, leasing back part of it through mid-2023, then relocating to other Hyde Park space that will better serve our mission and community into the future.
Relocation is only one way we are working deliberately to both lift new leaders and remove barriers to ministry that some experience when answering their call to serve. It also is part of our planful, bold recommitment to forming visionary leaders who can engage the demands of ministry nimbly and adapt to new opportunities flexibly.
True to our heritage as a learning community, we are still on the move, committed to and curious about God’s future for us and our whole church. We are still the seminary we have always been, and now see ourselves ready for the road ahead.
The Purpose of this Webpage
As we prepare for LSTC’s new home, we know our community will have questions. Whether you want to know why we’re moving or where we’re going, find answers here and stay informed of our progress.
We will update this webpage regularly, and we invite you to check back for further information whenever you have a question for us.
“This is a new beginning for LSTC. In these changing times, what makes our seminary special – our mission, vision, marks, and values – endures, and can even thrive, as we lead this century delivering world-class theological education. We anticipate a future with new possibilities – new investment in hospitality and community, new ways to work closely while extending our reach, new partnerships in our neighborhood and abroad, and a new sense of the right scale for effective theological education.”
– James Nieman, LSTC President
Featured Stories & Content
April 6, 2023
May 18, 2022
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that the building has been sold, how can I access the building?
Hours of access remain the same:
- 7:30am – 8pm M-F, 8:15am – 8pm Sat, (open until 9:30pm for night classes and evening events)
- Access to the Mailroom and Mailroom window hours will be the same.
Front Desk/Mailroom/Security personnel stay the same:
- Dr. James Foster and the team of students will continue to staff the Front Desk and Mailroom
- all the Allied Universal Officers will be the same, Rocky, Reggie, Dynasty will be joined by additional Allied Universal Officers through UChicago
Room Reservations: (see the attached pdf of areas LSTC is leasing back from UChicago)
- please continue to email to Bob Berridge at: firstname.lastname@example.org for any room reservations you would like
- larger group gatherings please look to use the Chapel, 350, or classrooms. Small groups will have 340, and the departmental conference rooms.
Cleaning is much the same:
- LSTC Students will continue to pickup the grounds in housing and the main building
- LSTC students will continue the mid day disinfecting of high touch and gathering areas
- Night cleaning hours for students will change and the students are being given hours with other LSTC departments of their choice
- United Maintenance night cleaning staff (Mario, Macario) will be reassigned to new accounts close to their homes while UChicago night cleaning staff from ABM will clean at night
Report any Maintenance needs to the Front Desk as you do now:
- University of Chicago personnel will perform the maintenance on the building but will be called by Mike, Jami, and Bob
- Please continue to report any needs to the person at the Front Desk
All Facility services in LSTC Housing remain the very same
I heard LSTC recently sold its building and underlying property and will be moving to Catholic Theological Union(CTU) in the summer. why?
Our decision to sell our current building and relocate to CTU’s campus supports Dynamic Formation, the third area of our strategic plan which addresses emerging realities in theological education, including the role physical space plays in how people teach, learn, work and worship in a changing world. In recent years, and together with our Board of Directors, LSTC evaluated whether our mission required LSTC to continue as a property owner-operator. This evaluation made it clear the operational and financial burdens of property management took energy and focus away from LSTC’s ability to form visionary faith leaders called into the world. The Board of Directors therefore decided to sell and relocate to a space better suited for our educational mission.
Since 1966, Hyde Park has been our home. The surrounding community and our partners enrich LSTC’s ability to form visionary faith leaders who are prepared to shape the world through innovative, inclusive ministry. We are moving to CTU and staying in Hyde Park because it is core to our mission, provides a rich educational setting for ministry, and shows our commitment to ecumenical collaboration and cooperation.
Given their distinctive profiles, how will LSTC and CTU work together well?
LSTC and CTU, while separate institutions, will work together through the formation of “Life Together” groups. Each group will be comprised of students, faculty, and staff, and organized by themes that have been identified as important to our campus communities. These groups will help us establish ways of working together as a community, anticipate aspects of our shared life that call for further attention, and identify opportunities for partnerships and collaboration.
Will CTU and LSTC merge?
LSTC and CTU are not merging and will remain structurally distinct, separately governed institutions residing in the same facility. Where synergies exist, however, we do look forward to the prospect of future collaborations to create administrative efficiencies and to work cooperatively on new and mutually beneficial innovations.
How long will LSTC remain in its current space, and when does LSTC plan to leave?
While nothing is guaranteed until we close the sale and lease new space, we expect to remain in a leaseback position with UChicago until we relocate closer to mid-2023.
What spaces will LSTC lease back from the University of Chicago after the sale?
The map above identifies the areas we are leasing back for offices, classrooms, and meeting rooms. The spaces being leased back are in white. The locations not being leased are in grey. The lease-back spaces were determined following an extensive architectural space planning process involving faculty, staff, students, and board members and fully encompasses the dedicated space needs of the seminary at this time.
We will also have full access and use of the Chapel and the JKM Library. Other shared spaces (e.g., the Grand Hallway and the Shelf) will be available as shared spaces in the coming year.
How will the sale impact residential housing?
There will be no changes to our stock of residential housing because of this sale. We will continue to provide affordable residences for students who desire it, including safe and appropriate housing for international students. Our existing apartment buildings will remain owned and operated by LSTC after the sale closes.
What will happen to Katie’s Closet and Duty Free?
We will continue to offer support resources like Katie’s Closet and Duty Free. Katie’s Closet and Duty Free have in fact already been relocated to 1154-56 E. 54th Place, First Floor. All students in housing have access to this new site through the back gate and up the back stairs. We are working on a variety of other options to get students who don’t live in housing access very soon, and we are making plans to install a ramp in the coming months to make these resources fully accessible. Katie’s Closet/Duty Free is open Monday – Friday from 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary if you have food, clothing, or household needs. For more information regarding Katie’s Closet, email email@example.com.
What will happen to the JKM Library?
Within the current agreement, a significant portion of the JKM Collection (roughly half) will be absorbed into the University of Chicago’s library collections. After the JKM Collection is audited for duplicates and items not central to our library and its mission, LSTC expects to retain less than half of the remainder. The letter of intent affirms LSTC students, faculty and staff will continue to have access to the JKM Collection once the sale closes, and we feel confident the collection will be well cared-for moving forward.
What will happen to LSTC’s Rare Book Collection?
What will happen to other well-known and special material assets?
LSTC is committed to ensuring that any material assets that do not move with us remain in caring, responsible hands. This priority will guide our planning, including decisions about which assets will remain with us.
Do you anticipate relocation disrupting the 2022-23 school year?
LSTC expects to relocate closer to mid-2023, following the completion of a full 2022-23 academic year.
How will LSTC keep the community apprised of sale/relocation news moving forward?
LSTC will distribute information through the seminary’s standing communications channels, including this webpage and LSTC’s Epistle magazine, E.Pistle newsletter, social channels, and other regular programming, such as events, when appropriate.
Why did LSTC sell the Ruth & Paul Manz Organ?
While we would love to take our beautiful organ with us, its size is too large and will not fit in our new space. Through our agreement with the University of Chicago, the organ must be moved by June 30, 2023. The organ will remain in the chapel until the end of classes May 12, 2023. Additionally, the Ruth & Paul Manz Organ Recital Series will continue through this academic year.
If you have additional questions about LSTC’s sale-relocation journey, please send us an email for consideration in a future update.