Doors of united Risen Savior Church expected to open next month
Work on a church three years in the making is nearing completion.
Risen Savior Lutheran Church, the culmination of a merger between St. Martin Lutheran Church in Basehor and Emmaus Lutheran Church in Bonner Springs, is a little less than two months away from a move-in date.
“They’re not looking forward to it at all,” the Rev. Robert Weinkauf said with a laugh, referring to his congregants’ excitement at moving into a new and larger space. “Right now we’re in a very modest building so, yeah, there’s much excitement over moving in to … our new church and facility; certainly much excitement in the new worship space and for the benefits for all of our social and educational gatherings.”
St. Martin Lutheran Church at 14308 Fairmont Road in Basehor and Emmaus Lutheran Church, formerly at Kansas Highway 7 and Kansas Avenue, merged in 2008 to form Risen Savior Lutheran Church. The joining of congregations came at a time when both churches were looking to expand.
“It was decided that we could do more to serve our membership, to pool all of our people and resources together, instead of each congregation looking at building a church of their own about seven miles apart,” Weinkauf said.
Weinkauf was formerly the pastor of the Basehor church but became the pastor of Risen Savior once the merger occurred.
Emmaus Lutheran sold its land in 2008 to make way for the Bonner Springs Pointe Development area, which is now the site of Walgreens and Burger King.
Services for Risen Savior have taken place ever since in the St. Martin building while congregants wait for their new church to be completed.
And it’s been a long wait.
Ground wasn’t broken on the new construction project until July 2010. The church, which Weinkauf said measures about 25,000 square feet, is being built on 20 acres of land at 14700 Leavenworth Road in Basehor. Weinkauf said the St. Martin Church is about 4,000 square feet.
The inside of the new Risen Savior Church will come complete with a larger sanctuary that can seat about 300 people, a balcony that will house a 1,400-pipe organ, a gathering hall, and several offices and classrooms. Additionally, inside the sanctuary will hang a 50-foot hand-carved crucifix from Germany. Outside features of the church will include a 12-foot crucifix above the front entrance and an 85-foot steeple.
Weinkauf said other elements like stained-glass windows, stone floors, the cruciform shape of the sanctuary and the traditional rooster atop the steeple add to the goal of building a traditional church that is reminiscent of churches built many centuries ago.
“Once Christianity became legal in the year 313, many churches would be designed not unlike this one,” Weinkauf said, adding that the reason behind Risen Savior’s more traditional design was to “convey a sense of reverence and holiness, as well as permanency and the transcendedness of the faith throughout the ages.”
Though the design of the church evokes history more than it does modernity, Weinkauf said Risen Savior was really creating something new.
“It’s pretty remarkable that as we did research on what to build … this is the way that our grandfathers and throughout the ages would build churches,” he said. “We’re not aware of really anyone in the U.S. in the last 30 years building anything like this.”
Funding for the $2.5 million project, Weinkauf said, has come through the proceeds of the Emmaus Church’s land sale and from membership gifts and donations. Additionally, some of the project will be financed, he said.
All in all, he said, the church was getting a pretty good deal, thanks to the economy.
“It’s just a wonderful, blessed time to be able to build as it’s helped the economy and a number of contractors in need of work,” Weinkauf said. “So in a better economic environment, we’d probably be spending half a million dollars more and getting the building we have now.”
Construction on Risen Savior Church is expected to be complete by late November.