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Renewing Waterloo Lutheran Seminary (WLS)

Lutherans can be proud of WLS’s contribution to higher education. The seminary, a small faith-based school with a remarkable history of forming leaders, has been operating at its present campus location since 1911. The school grew from solely providing training for Lutheran pastors, into a liberal arts college that brought higher education to Waterloo Region. In 1959 the seminary founded Waterloo Lutheran University which, in 1973, became Wilfrid Laurier University.

Now is the time to renew the programs and facilities to meet the needs of students today and the future. Montgomery Sisam Architects Inc. has been retained to design a $9-million renewal and modernization of the seminary. WLS's Board of Governors has embarked on a $1.5-million Reform capital campaign to support the project, which will be completed during the summer of 2018. Highlights of the project include:

  • Renewing and modernizing the seminary building, built in 1963, to meet increased student demand.
  • Significantly expanding and diversifying the seminary's courses and programs.
  • Renaming the school as Martin Luther University College to reflect the seminary's mission in the 21st century.

The renewal and modernization will focus on upgrading building systems and technology, and reconfiguring internal spaces mostly within the current footprint, including:

  • seven state-of-the-art classrooms
  • gathering commons
  • community room
  • multifaith room to include ablution facilities
  • worship arts centre
  • community pastor office
  • courtyard
  • lobby and welcome centre
  • energy efficient design

Rethinking Education

While the seminary remains dedicated to forming pastors for service, we have become much more. We offer programs designed to nurture leaders with a global perspective who are committed to contributing to the health and well-being of our increasingly diverse communities.

Programs include:

  • Christian Studies and Global Citizenship
  • Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy
  • Master of Divinity
  • PhD in Human Relationships
  • The Kanata Centre for Worship and Global Song
  • The Centre for Public Ethics
  • Delton Glebe Counselling Centre

Responding to Community Needs

Supporting mental health and well-being has been a core mission of our school for more than 50 years. Our pioneering work in addressing grief, death and dying has comforted countless people. The positive impact of our faculty and graduates resounds throughout the community. The places our alumni are serving include:

  • Grand River Hospital (Kitchener and Freeport campuses)
  • St. Mary’s General Hospital
  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital
  • Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre
  • Family Counselling Centre of Cambridge and North Dumfries
  • KW Counselling Services Delton Glebe Counselling Centre
  • Long-term care: Grand River Hospital’s Freeport Campus and the Trinity Village Care Centre

Campaign Supporters

Waterloo Lutheran Seminary:

  • Training leaders since 1911.
  • More than 400 students enrolled in seminary programs and courses last year, including 250 WLU students enrolled for electives.
  • 31 faith traditions represented among last year’s students.
  • Ontario’s leading master’s and PhD programs in spiritually integrated psychotherapy.

Don Stockman, Reform Capital Campaign Chair

Don Stockman“For more than 100 years Waterloo Lutheran Seminary has been preparing leaders for service. I have seen first-hand the profound impact of its programs in the community and in the church. The seminary continues to be a beacon of God’s love. I consider it a privilege, like my grandfather before me, to reinvest the blessings I’ve received throughout my life into the place and the people who have a resolute passion for forming leaders. Please join me to ensure the seminary continues to form lives well into the future.”

Heather Main, Reform Capital Campaign Deputy Chair

Heather MainHeather Main, the Reform Capital Campaign’s deputy chair, has deep roots in Waterloo and strong family ties to the seminary. Her grandfather, Rev. Dr. John Raymond Houser, served as the principal of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary from 1954-1968. One of his first major duties was to construct the seminary building which is undergoing renewal and modernization. In addition to serving as the campaign’s deputy chair Heather, senior legal counsel at Intact Insurance Company, has been a member of the seminary’s Board of Governors since 2015.

Michael Pryse, Bishop of the ELCIC’s Eastern Synod

Michael Pryse“As a graduate of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary and longtime member of its board, I know that our students learn, grow and explore their faith, which helps to inform their values and world view. I’m confident this Reform campaign will have a positive lasting impact on the future of our seminary, our church and our community. It will benefit us all for generations to come.”

Donna Mann, Hospice Palliative Care Team, CCAC

​“My years at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary were a rich time of learning and growth – foundational for my work with people who are nearing the end of their lives, and their families.”

Rick Haldenby, Professor, School of Architecture, University of Waterloo

“The Waterloo Lutheran Seminary has taken its responsibility to preserve this important piece of Waterloo’s history, urban landscape and architectural culture extremely seriously. They deserve our gratitude and support.”

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