The steeple-setting ceremony signified the near-completion of the chapel building, which has been under construction since March 2010.
Media representatives joined the seminary family, members of the board of trustees and advisory board of regents as well as spectators to see the towering 3,000-pound steeple raised to the top of the chapel complex before being secured to a stabilizing base on the facility's roof.
The ceremony came on the heels of Midwestern's spring trustee meeting and as part in the celebration of MBTS President Phil Roberts' 10 years of service at the seminary.
"Today is a special day in Midwestern's history, and it is encouraging to see the steeple sitting atop our chapel," Roberts said during the April 19 event. "I'm grateful to our regents and to our trustees for their unwavering prayer and support in this project. It's only fitting that they get to be here to witness the visible progress of their efforts."
The 51-foot-tall steeple encompasses a copula and a spire crowned by a 10-foot cross. It was placed at the center junction of the complex's roofs, over the congregational area of the chapel. The new addition will be lighted to be visible from the neighborhood, indicating clearly the seminary's purposes.
"Now people ... will be able to view the cross from any angle and be reminded of the sacrifice that our Lord Jesus made to forgive our sins," Roberts said. "Our neighbors will also be reminded on a daily basis that this is a place that serves Jesus Christ. They will know we are a place that trains future pastors and missionaries to carry out the Great Commission and spread the Gospel to Kansas City, to Missouri, to the United States and to the ends of the earth."
With its new addition, the chapel complex now reaches approximately 107 feet into the air, adding greater prominence to an already impressive structure that includes a 1,000-seat auditorium, a welcome center, additional classroom space and corridors connecting the complex to the current administration and classroom buildings. The structure will allow for increased capacity at Midwestern chapel services, workshops and other events.
The seminary's trustees approved the chapel construction in October 2009 and groundbreaking ceremonies for the project took place on March 3, 2010. An influx of volunteers began arriving on campus in the summer of 2010 as J.E. Dunn Construction and the Alabama-based Builders for Christ joined together with Midwestern to begin construction, and a second wave of volunteers will begin arriving on campus this summer with the aim of readying the interior of the chapel for the fall semester.
Midwestern Seminary continues to recruit volunteer groups to help finish the project. Interested parties can contact the office of Lyndal Lovelace at 816-414-3731 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Austin Mayfield is a writer for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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