Chicago Theological Seminary dedicates new, LEED certified building
Written by Gregg Brekke
October 25, 2011
UCC related Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS)
dedicated its new state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly building Friday,
Oct. 21, 2011. The liturgy of dedication, held in a tent adjacent to the
nearly-completed building, included students, faculty and staff, and featured music
by Sweet Honey in the Rock and speeches by UCC General Minister and President
the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black and the Hon. Willie Cochran, Alderman of Chicago’s
The 80,000-square-foot building, located at 1407 East
60th Street at Dorchester Avenue in Chicago, is LEED-Silver certified and
includes a 5,000 square foot green roof and energy saving features.
The first and second floors will house faculty and
staff offices, classrooms, a small chapel, and a meditation space. The third
floor will house the learning and student commons. A worship space and dining
room are located on the fourth floor, adjacent to the green roof.
"Our new home is not only more conducive to our
central work—teaching and learning—but it is also meant to inspire," said
the Rev. Alice Hunt, CTS president, in the dedication program. She summarized
the many features and functions of the building by saying that in it, "you
will find beauty with purpose."
"I am always reminded
that for the church, buildings are tools," said Black. "We acquire
them for the purpose of advancing mission and ministry. On this occasion the
mission is theological education in support of the ongoing ministry of the
church in the world."
Donald Clark, chairperson of
the CTS board of trustees and a special counsel to the national settings of the
UCC, and his wife, Ellen, made a gift for the project of $1 million in early
2011 through their Clark Family Foundation.
"This difficult and
important decision benefited from a process of community-wide education,
deliberation and collaboration that reflected CTS at its best," said
Clark. "We not only made an important decision for the institution, we
also learned how best to process future challenges facing the community."
The UCC's Executive Minister
for Local Church Ministries, the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, attended the event and
called the dedication "a call and challenge to all of us to ensure that
the buildings that house each of our seven UCC seminaries enjoy the groundswell
of financial support they will need to ensure their stability and growth both
immediately and in the future."
"The dedication of a new
home for Chicago Theological Seminary was an inspirational, joyous event and a
milestone moment for one of our fine UCC institutions," said Guess.
"The pride we felt, as UCC members, was palpable."
Also present was the Rev.
Felix Carrion, the UCC's Stillspeaking Ministry coordinator and CTS trustee who
said, "It was a great joy to be present for the extraordinary events
surrounding the blessed dedication of the new building of Chicago Theological
"There are clear
memorable moments when one feels the Spirit pulsating and moving in the midst
of a people gathered with eager expectations to mark new beginnings filled with
incredible promise," said Carrion. "This was one of those times—a
state-of-the-art building, with architectural designs that open to magnificent
spaces, for learning, progressive engagement of the mind, mission in the world,
is now a reality to behold and enjoy, in the life of CTS, the UCC and
Construction of the new CTS
facility is a partnership between the University of Chicago and Chicago
Theological Seminary. In May 2008, the University of Chicago board of trustees executive
committee authorized the purchase of two Chicago Theological Seminary buildings
and an adjacent parking lot. Additionally, the University of Chicago agreed to
construct the new seminary building at 60th Street and Dorchester Avenue.
CTS is scheduled to move into the new space in
January 2012, following the end of the fall semester.