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The Chapel is Where Our Relationship with Valpo Begins

Valparaiso University breaks ground on a new addition and a new era for the Chapel of the Resurrection

Bird’s eye view of the audience, chapel and campanile

Bird’s eye view of the audience, chapel and campanile on groundbreaking day.

On Saturday afternoon, April 26, 2014, members of the Valparaiso University community gathered for the groundbreaking of an 11,000-square-foot addition to the Chapel of the Resurrection. The addition is made possible by a generous gift from the Rev. Mark ’71 and Kathy Koepp ’71 Helge. The couple met while working at the chapel and graduated from Valparaiso University in 1971.


Nearly 200 staff, students, alumni and friends, joined in the ceremony marked with scripture readings, hymns, and performances by the Valparaiso University Kantorei, the Handbell Choir, and the Praise Band.


University president Mark Heckler made his welcome remarks and thanked the Helges, whom he said “believe strongly in the power of a Lutheran education” and are “loyal and irreplaceable friends” in their service to the university.


Community and area officials, including Valparaiso mayor Jon Costas and state senator Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, were also in attendance at the ceremony.


Kathy Helge read a portion of a sermon delivered by the University’s legendary president, O.P. Kretzmann, at an event marking the 10th anniversary of the chapel, at which she was present.


“This groundbreaking today says that this chapel is an explicit witness to our faith…a reverberating ‘yes’ to mission,“ said Helge. “It’s God’s work. It’s our hands.”


Mark Helge said the chapel is the “heart of this campus…a place reflective of the motto by which we live.”

The addition, on the chapel’s south side, includes rehearsal space, a meeting space, a full kitchen and, perhaps most importantly, will bring the university’s ministry programs into one location. Currently, these programs are in five places around the campus, including the chapel.


Rev. Brian T. Johnson, executive director for Campus Ministries, explained, “There’s a synergy that happens when people are next to each other, and that creates a creative energy.”


The generous donation by the Helges also provided funding for renovation work, including new windows, a new heating system, and an updated sound and lighting systems. The addition is expected to be finished in 12 to 16 months, according to Brian Johnson.


Heckler and the Helges shoveled spades of dirt as the audience stood on a yellow line  that marked the perimeter of the new addition.

“As you have filled in the space, you get a vision of how this building will be,” said Charlene Rachuy Cox, a university pastor.

Groundbreaking 4/26/2014






Mark and Kathy Helge


About the Helges

THE REV. MARK ’71 AND KATHY KOEPP ’71 HELGE have a special place in their hearts for the Chapel of the Resurrection. It is within the Chapel walls that the Helges first met. In addition to providing generous philanthropic support for the Chapel and a wide variety of other University initiatives, the Helges are involved leaders at Valpo. Through Mark’s service on the Board of Directors and Kathy’s long tenure with the University Guild, Valparaiso University remains tremendously thankful for their partnership and forethought in providing this space and for their collective impact that has touched our entire campus. 

Blueprint of addition

About the Chapel of the Resurrection Addition

Made possible by a generous gift from the Rev. Mark ’71 and Kathy Koepp ’71 Helge, the 11,000-square-foot addition to the Chapel of the Resurrection represents the next phase of the Chapel’s restoration and expansion. Designed by award-winning Nagle Hartray Architecture, the addition to the Chapel will be constructed to the south side of the building. It will feature a community gathering space with a kitchen, dedicated areas for hospitality and small group activities, a place for music rehearsals, staff offices, a meadow walk, and natural outdoor spaces. The addition will become the new home for the University pastors and Chapel staff, Church and Community Relations, the Institute for Leadership and Service, and other mission and ministry efforts. Thanks to the Helges’ support of the entire scope of this project, the Chapel of the Resurrection will be positioned to meet the needs of the Valparaiso University community for decades to come.


Southern view

Southern view of the Chapel with addition.

Groundbreaking VIPs April 28 2014

(L-R) University pastors Charlene Rachuy Cox and James Wetzstein, Mark and Kathy Helge,

Veronica and President Mark Heckler, Executive Director Brian Johnson


Below: Aerial view of the construction work, August 8, 2014, courtesy of Professors Liz Wuerffel and Jeff Will.

An aerial view of the construction, August 2014