-by Rev. Dr. Karl Bohmer
On Saturday, 7 September 2019, by the grace of God and thanks to the support of generous friends and donors, the new seminary library was dedicated at the LTS to the glory of God and to the benefit and blessing of LTS students in their academic development. The bulk of the funds were raised by our Lutheran Church—MissouriSynod (LCMS) friends of the St. Philips Lutheran Mission Society (SPLMS), a committed group of LCMS supporters who have recently been granted Recognized Service Organization (RSO) status in the LCMS, and by the Rocky Mountain District of the LCMS.
The library building extension and refurbishment was part of a multifaceted construction project which was accomplished over the space of more than three months in mid-2019. The groundbreaking for the extension took place in early June. The main project was the extension of the library building towards the north and south, with much-needed space being added to accommodate the seminary’s holdings of books and for a librarian’s desk for administrative purposes.
In addition, the existing roof was sealed and painted, as were the exterior and interior walls, providing a serviceable and uniform appearance. Carpeting was laid and new shelves installed, with study desks being added to provide students with opportunity to research and write. The LTS library was recently equipped with new computers and electronic infrastructure to enable access to electronic books and journals as well.
All of this is in line with and in aid of the overall accreditation project at the LTS, with the academic program at the LTS being streamlined to comply with the standards administered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the Council on Higher Education (CHE). Such accreditation requires not only that the academic curriculum conform to the set standards, but that the library provides sufficient learning and assessment opportunities.
As it is, the infrastructure of the entire campus needs to comply with SAQA and CHE policies. As mentioned, the library expansion was part of a multifaceted project improving the LTS infrastructure. Improvements include the paving of large parts of the campus, revamping the main entryway, providing adequate seating on campus, upgrading electric wiring in the houses, and landscaping the areas around trees and flower beds.
Future projects include the installation of additional signage, upgrading the interior of the LTS chapel, and purchasing needed books. We are grateful for the ongoing support the LTS receives and pray that it may continue to be a blessing to the Lutheran churches of Southern Africa through the training of confessional Lutheran pastors and church workers.
LTS Rector Dr. C. Walter Winterle observed the dedication of the revamped library and campus areas. Prof. em. Dr. Dr. Werner Klän, having presented a two-week set of intensive lectures on the Theology of the Book of Concord, officially represented our German sister church, the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany (SELK) at the dedication.
Deaconess Grace Rao, hosting a women’s seminar at the LTS, was an official representative of the LCMS, ourAmerican sister church. In addition to the rector, Dr. Klän, Rev. Mbongeni John Nkambule, Mrs. Karin Niebuhr of the LTS Preschool/DayCare, Deaconess Rao, and LTS student representative Dumisani Mokobedi addressed the attendees at the dedication, giving thanks to the Lord God and speaking words of greeting and encouragement.
After the dedication was performed, the new library was entrusted to the competent administration and oversight of LTS librarian Mintesinot Birru, originally of the Mekane Yesus Church in Ethiopia. Also in attendance at the dedication were numerous friends and supporters of the LTS.