On a warm clear night, in a field in Dyer, Indiana, the Mid-America Reformed Seminary Board of Trustees and over two hundred well-wishers embarked on an exciting journey. One by one, these board members put their hands not to the plow, but to a shovel to turn the earth in the spot where the new seminary campus will be built. They were joined by Rev. Ed Knott, Rev. Henry Vander Kam and others from the group that was instrumental in founding the seminary over a decade ago. To add to the spirit of cooperation which such a venture requires, Mid-America professors Dr. Nelson Kloosterman and Dr. Cornel Venema also encouraged members of the crowd to come forward and actively participate in this turning of the earth. In response, young and old, men and women, came forward one by one to place their mark on the soil. So that as the ground was turned, shovel after shovel, a small pile of dirt accumulated marking the spot. This very public display serves to demonstrate that Mid-America is working to serve the church by ministering to the wonderful diversity of age and station that exists among God’s people. After the ceremony, a reception at the Oak Glen Christian Reformed Church gave the well-wishers a chance to enjoy fellowship and refreshments.
Now that the ground-breaking ceremony is history, actual construction can commence. Survey crews have already placed stakes. The stakes describe the building outline, the location and shape of roadways, sidewalks and parking areas and the landscaping work that will be performed. Once that work is complete, heavier equipment will arrive at the site to begin moving the dirt necessary for the pouring of the building’s foundation. In these new facilities, Mid-America will be poised to serve over eighty full-time students with the sort of solid, foundational training for which the seminary is known.
Ground-breaking represents the completion of a whole series of activities. Seminary representatives have been working diligently to prepare for construction. These activities include a thorough study of the environmental, soil and storm water conditions to be found at the site, design of the Phase One facility, completion of civil engineering work and coordination of all the legal, municipal and engineering approvals required before construction can begin. These activities are now complete and we have great hopes that the building will be ready for occupancy in late 1995.
And yet, one thing remains uncompleted. That one thing concerns the dollars required to successfully finish the project. Here are the facts. The total cost is estimated to be in excess of two million dollars. To date, the seminary has received cash gifts in excess of $800,000 and commitments of approximately $500,000. The seminary Board of Trustees has spent a great deal of time recently discussing the advisability of proceeding before all of the funds for the project are in hand. This is a matter of very serious concern. Strong sentiment exists in favor of continuing to operate a debt-free seminary. To that end, the board has agreed to permit construction to proceed while seminary representatives work on two fronts to make the project a success and to eliminate the single item that stands in the way of our goal. First, a major effort is underway to raise the remainder of the funds necessary while maintaining the positive health of the seminary’s present financial portfolio. Second, a review of the project is being conducted in order to achieve cost savings in all areas of site development, construction and project completion. It is expected that this tandem approach will serve to assure that the project is completed at a reasonable cost and without long-term debt.
In his remarks to the group gathered to witness this historic event, recently elected Board ofTrustees president, Dr. John Sittema, stressed that the act of breaking ground was only a beginning—the beginning of a journey that would continue with the construction of the new seminary campus and by God’s grace, culminate in the training of Reformed pastors and the up-building of the church. The ground-breaking serves as a signpost along the path of that journey and the mound of dirt provides a physical reminder that much work remains to be done. Mid-America and her supporters are working to place a lasting mark on Reformed churches everywhere by bearing witness to the abiding and living Word ofGod. That Word was read in the litany of dedication written by Professor Vander Hart and recited in unison by the crowd. We pray that the testimony of that Word and the joy of serving its Giver may be the source of our strength in days to come. Any real success will come by these means alone! Please pray for Mid-America, her future and ministry among the churches.
Mid-America Reformed Seminary is working now to raise the remainder of the funds necessary to pay for this visionary project. As you commit your financial resources to the cause of God’s kingdom, please remember the important and essential work of Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Your gifts are truly needed and much appreciated. We need you to make your mark with us!
Mid-America’s Development Director, Mr. Greg Eddings has taken up residence near the site of the new campus. He can be reached at 3235 45th St. Suite #302, Highland, IN 46322, phone # (219) 924-6113.