Along with their donation, Barney and Joyce Beeksma charged Whitworth with the task of keeping Christ at the center of all that happens on campus, Taylor said.
Whitworth’s mission is to expand God’s kingdom through higher education. The recent gifts and chapel expansion contribute to that mission of honoring God, following Christ, and serving humanity, Taylor said.
“I love creating new spaces for students to congregate, to relate to one another, to grow in relationship, to walk through life together,” Taylor said.
Buckner said the new space will also allow more students to engage in campus ministry and have natural connection with other faculty, staff, and students.
The Seeley G. Mudd chapel was first constructed in 1978. Increases in the theology department caused the department to recenter to Westminster. Theology professor Jerry Sittser originally presented his idea for the expansion to Taylor. He had a vision to re-center the theology department back into the chapel.
The renovation will be finished by the beginning of fall 2018, and there will be a formal dedication of the completed project on Oct. 11, 2018.
The theology center expansion will bring new offices for more than 20 faculty and staff as well as new student spaces. There will be a new audio and video system, more restrooms and increased seating.
The ceremony ended with a prayer of dedication from Buckner and a congressional sing of “Amazing Grace”.