The Center for Liturgical Art


CLA Groundbreaking

Monday, May 1st, we were able to hold a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the donation of the Marxhausen property by the Marxhausen family and to prepare for the construction of the new home of the Center for Liturgical Art. Some 50 plus family, friends, campus and community members gathered to hear a brief word from Kurth Brashear, President Reverend Dr. Brian Friedrich, and Paul Marxhausen.

A transcript of events follows:

Words of Welcome – Kurth

Good afternoon! I’m Kurth Brashear, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and, on behalf of President Friedrich and the Board of Regents, welcome to today’s groundbreaking ceremony which celebrates the visible beginning of a new era for the Center for Liturgical Art and Concordia University’s support of the ministry of the Church.

I especially want to welcome our students, faculty, and staff; the Concordia Foundation Nebraska Board of Directors, members of the Board of Regents, and their spouses; Evan Balleweg, Operations Manager for the Center; Kjersten Tucker, project architect; friends of Reinhold and Dorris Marxhausen; and special guests, Paul Marxhausen, his son Joel Marxhausen, his daughter Anne Miller and her husband Chris Miller. Welcome, all!

One person who has been looking forward to this day but can’t be here is Mark Anschutz, Resident Artist at the Center. Mark’s cousin died after a battle with cancer on Friday and her funeral was today in Kansas. Our prayers are with Mark and his extended family today. He did ask me to convey his greetings, appreciation, and excitement to all who are here.

This is no ordinary building site … it is a place that has great significance, to Seward, to the State of Nebraska, to the art world, to Concordia and, yes, to the Center for Liturgical Art. Today we recognize this legacy as we celebrate this new beginning.

At this time, it is my privilege to introduce Rev. Dr. Brian Friedrich, President of Concordia University, Nebraska. Please join me in welcoming President Friedrich!

Legacy & Appreciation – Brian

Today, as a new chapter begins for the Center for Liturgical Art, we have the opportunity to recall a dynamic couple who meant so much to Concordia and the Seward community.

Reinhold and Dorris Marxhausen were each tremendously gifted, active and bold. They cared deeply about art, about Seward, about Concordia, and about their family. People of great faith and conviction, they knew and witnessed our Savior. And all these things happened, in large part, here, where their home previously stood. This was the site where much of Marxie’s wonderful creativity and genius came into existence. A tremendous artist in a variety of mediums, Reinhold Marxhausen believed greatly in the power of art within the church and in worship.

The Center for Liturgical Art is the realization of Reinhold Marxhausen’s belief, promoting the use of exceptional visual art in worship and ministry. Emanating from Concordia’s long history of serving the church and distinguished art program, the Center is committed to deepening and enriching the worship life of the church, sharing the Gospel, and witnessing Christ through art. Since its establishment in 2002, the Center has become a recognized leader in liturgical art, providing meaningful, reflective and powerful pieces for ministries around the globe.

The Center is an important ministry to the church, one of many ways in which Concordia equips the church. It brings me great joy, then, that we are gathered together today to celebrate the furtherance of this ministry.

Given Marxie’s promotion of liturgical art, it is fitting that thanks to the generosity of his children, this historic location will be the new home for the Center for Liturgical Art. On behalf of the university, thank you to you, Paul, to Kim, to Karl, to Jan, to you, Anne, Joel and Chris, to your entire family for the wonderful gift of this land to Concordia, providing a space where the past, present, and future combine to share the Gospel in this powerful way. What a blessing!

Now, to say a few words on behalf of the family, please join me in welcoming Paul Marxhausen.

Family Remarks – Paul Marxhausen

One thing that’s obvious as I’ve browsed through the thousands of Marxhausen photographs my family has archived in recent years: every place that Reinhold and Dorris Marxhausen ever lived quickly came to bear the indelible stamp of their personalities and creativity.   No place was that truer than here at 540 where, over a half-century, they made an old frame house and two bare lots into a place bursting with ideas and life, a home for family and a refuge for friends.  When their energy and engagement with this place faded away, our family labored long and hard to maintain and preserve the echoes and memories of the life of this place.   That’s why finally surrendering that stewardship felt so powerfully like death for us.

But that grief always recalls for me John 12 – “unless a seed falls into the ground and die, it remains alone … but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.”  This imagery of renewed life and growth was one of Reinhold’s favorite themes and it was embodied in every living thing Dorris ever nurtured, and we see the reality of it here, today, as we break ground for the new CLA.  When I read the invitation to attend today another verse began to resonate in my brain:  “Behold, I do a new thing – now it will spring forth.  Do you not see it?” 

I do see it, I and my family, and we will watch eagerly to see what emerges.

Groundbreaking – Brian

Thank you, Paul. And now, it’s time for the fun part!

God has brought us to this time and place. As we break this ground today, we take the first step in the construction of a new building dedicated to witnessing Christ to the world. He has led us to this site, heard our prayers, blessed our gifts, guided our plans and will provide needed wisdom to complete this facility.

I would like to ask Paul to join me for this groundbreaking and have a shovel for him.

(when shovels are in place)

I now break this ground in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, that the Center for Liturgical Art may be a place where God causes His name to dwell and, through the art produced here, comes to His people and blesses them.

(Brian and Paul shovel)

Now, please join me in prayer:

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank You for this day; for the hopes and dreams that are ours as we propose to build this place for Your glory. The heavens are Yours; the earth and all that is in it. This ground already belongs to You, O God, and we believe that only Your grace makes it possible for us to use this land and here construct the facility. As we break the sod, we pray that the Center for Liturgical Art will be a vessel of your love for the World and that it will share and teach the Gospel through its work. From this place, may Your Word go forth as a spiritual beacon to guide our lives, be a witness of our faith, and inspire our community and the world. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.

Closing – Kurth

Thank you, President Friedrich. Thank you, Paul and members of the Marxhausen family. What a wonderful event!

Thank you for joining us today to celebrate this moment. We hope you will join us this fall when we dedicate this new facility and recognize and thank the donors who have made this dream attainable.

Renderings of the facility can be viewed at the studio, where Evan Balleweg and Kjersten Tucker have agreed to answer questions.

Finally, thanks be to God! As we close our program, please join me in expressing our thanks to God by singing the Doxology.

Below is the site plan and rendering of the final building. A dedication for the finished project is scheduled as a part of homecoming festivities in September. 

Michael Scheer