Seminary to come down off hilltop
Move downtown will enhance training, sustainability
(BERKELEY, Calif. – Dec. 14, 2016) Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary is coming down off the hilltop into downtown Berkeley.
California Lutheran University, which operates PLTS, has leased the second floor of the office building at 2000 Center St. and submitted plans to the city to turn the 12,000-square-foot space into the seminary’s new home. Cal Lutheran plans to sell the property at the top of Marin Avenue where the seminary has stood for 64 years.
The move will allow students to work more closely with the surrounding community and improve the seminary’s long-term financial sustainability.
The new location in the heart of Berkeley will provide more opportunities for the seminarians to engage with diverse members of the public, work with social service agencies and learn firsthand about the needs and opportunities in urban locations. The building is across the street from Berkeley City Hall, next to a YMCA and near a high school and two colleges. As they prepare for their roles as healers, the students will be surrounded by people in need of ministry, including the homeless who gather at a nearby park. While they study advocacy, they can look out the window to see protests on the steps of City Hall. The move dovetails with a proposal in the works to revise the seminary’s curriculum to better connect students to the people and issues of the world.
The site is also much closer to the Delaware Apartments, where its residential students live, and the Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of research centers and seminaries including PLTS that offer combined programs.
The urban setting is similar to that of many seminaries in Europe and the United States. It also reflects the current trend of turning office buildings, theaters and other nontraditional locations into sacred spaces.
Located at the end of a steep road, the current seminary campus is isolated from much of the community. The 10-acre property is much larger than needed to serve the 48 degree students, and its aging buildings need millions of dollars in work. Utility and maintenance costs, as well as the seminary’s carbon footprint, will drop significantly with the move. Proceeds from property’s sale will support the seminary.
Crews will remodel the new space to provide 20 offices, three smart classrooms, a student lounge and a sacristy. A large space will be filled with furniture that can be reconfigured for worship services, gatherings or study.
The seminary will continue to operate at the hilltop location through commencement on May 20 before moving downtown.
PLTS is one of eight seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Established in Portland, Oregon, in 1910, it moved to Seattle in 1914 and to Berkeley in 1952. It became a graduate school of Cal Lutheran in 2014. For more information, go to PLTS.edu.
- Faith tested
Thu February 21, 2019
When horrific events affect both congregants and additional outsiders, their need for advice and prayer is piled on top of the usual emotional and spiritual demands presented by requests to discuss life’s hardest aspects ranging from addictions and marital problems to grief counseling — creating a surefire recipe for pastor burnout.
- Cal Lutheran receives $1M to help pastors
Wed October 17, 2018
California Lutheran University has been awarded nearly $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help pastors and church leaders throughout 14 Western states avoid burnout and thrive in their ministries.
- Accreditation input requested
Mon August 6, 2018
A committee from the Association of Theological Schools will be on the campus of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary October 22-25 for an accreditation visit.
- Climate Justice course to be offered again
Wed July 11, 2018
- Muslim college buys seminary campus
Fri September 22, 2017
The hilltop property where a Lutheran seminary stood for 65 years before moving downtown will now house a Muslim college.
- An update on the PLTS move to downtown Berkeley
Thu April 20, 2017
The seminary staff, faculty and students will move to the new campus in June. The official start of operations at PLTS in the heart of Berkeley will be on Aug. 1.
- Rector named to help guide seminary
Mon March 13, 2017
A Chicago professor, ordained pastor and community organizer will serve as the first rector of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary of California Lutheran University.
- Seminary to come down off hilltop
Wed December 14, 2016
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary is coming down off the hilltop into downtown Berkeley.
- PLTS Move Frequently Asked Questions
Wed November 30, 2016
Answers to many FAQ regarding the upcoming campus move.
- Great work of our time
Wed November 30, 2016
As the Reformation turns 500, some see the climate crisis as cause for a new one.