Groundbreaking for Chapel/Fine Arts August 26, 1999
“Out of the sacred ground near which we now stand will arise a structure that will signal a new architecture, a new standard for excellence, and a renewed commitment to train young people for Christian service in the communication arts and fine arts.”
The occasion in the Scripture about which we just read was the dedication of the foundation of what was eventually to be the new Temple following the exile and return of the Israelites to Jerusalem. Though we are not here to build on the remains of a past building I found the text very appropriate in describing what happens when the future and the past are mingled.
Those who have sensitive ears today might be able to hear the diverse emotions of age and youth that can always be heard in periods of far reaching change in the life of an institution. Some of the older folks at the event described in Ezra remembered Solomon’s temple and they shed some tears of nostalgia that mixed with the shouts of joy of the happy young people to creating a loud commotion that could be heard from a great distance.
There are some here who remember when the first cornerstone was laid at Missouri Baptist College, who saw the college through struggles, who renewed it when it looked like it would close. You are certainly granted some tears of nostalgia. Most of us, like those at the groundbreaking for the temple have no memories of those days and can only appreciate them from a distance. But this ceremony brings us together.
The chapel/fine arts building will be much more than an attractive addition to the campus. It will stand as a bridge between old and new. Out of the sacred ground near which we now stand will arise a structure that will signal a new architecture, a new standard for excellence, and a renewed commitment to train young people for Christian service in the communication arts and fine arts. Every facility from this time forward will be measured against this signature building. It will stand as a reminder of those who came before, who laid the foundation of this whole enterprise and it will point to the future with great hope and faith.
When finished, this new building will be a place of worship and a place to celebrate the wonders of the human spirit through song and drama. It will provide facilities for the teaching of music, drama, broadcast and telecommunications. There will be a place to assemble, to entertain, and to fellowship. People who come to the campus will be drawn to the buildings beauty and appreciate its functionality. It will stand as a tribute to the profound faith and unshakable resolve of all that have believed in this project and worked to make it possible. May God grant us good fortune as we launch this undertaking.
The only way for me to appropriately thank everyone would be to name every person here and time does not permit that. We have donors who have given generously. we have professionals who have planned, designed and will actually build the building. We have prayer warriors who have petitioned God to make this come about. We have trustees who are willing to be visionary in their thinking. We have faculty and students who are growing a program that makes this facility necessary. This is a ceremony for everyone.
In a few moments I am going to ask some groups of people to come forward and take a shovel and break ground to symbolize the start of construction. We have had to divide this up since we only have twelve shovels but we want everyone to participate who desires to do so. After the groundbreaking our guests who have made reservations are invited to join us in the next tent for lunch. Students will be served lunch on the quad.
It says in Ezra that the people sang a hymn of praise in recognition that the new day was possible only because the Lord is good and because his steadfast love endures forever. I will ask the first group to come forward and while they do I ask that you join me in the doxology which will serve as a hymn of praise for this event and for the meal which follows…