Trinity Chapel

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Events, Room Information and Details

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Altar Triptych

The Chapel altarpiece was designed and painted by Bethany professor William Bukowski, chairman of the Art Department, who has taught at the college since 1980.

The chapel building committee approached Bukowski in March 1993 with a request for an altarpiece with two side panels—a triptych—so it would be possible to easily change the scenes. The paintings were in progress for a year and six months.

With the triptych open, the first panel, titled “Flight into Egypt,” depicts the birth of Jesus and the beginning of His persecution. Elements within the still life portion of the Flight into Egypt are meant to symbolize the life of Christ and His preaching.

The central panel, titled “The Crucifixion,” emphasizes Christ's sacrifice for our sins. The black background depicts the moment the sky went dark when Jesus died. John, Mary, and Mary Magdalene are present in the painting and are meant to show the reality of the sorrow.

The third panel, titled “Resurrection,” shows Christ's triumph over death with the country-side of Jerusalem in the background. The slight glow around Jesus is meant to show the glorified body of God's Son.

The closed triptych portrays Jesus with Mary and Martha at Bethany from which comes the motto of Bethany Lutheran College, “One Thing Needful.”

Narthex Painting

"To Prepare a Place for You” is the title of a painting that now hangs in the narthex of Trinity Chapel. The piece, an original work by Bethany alumnus Jonathan Mayer (’07), was a purchase award at the Spring 2007 Bethany Senior Art Show. The painting depicts Christ arisen showing the nail markings and pierced side and was installed on March 19, 2008. 

Altar and Baptismal Font

The altar, lectern, pulpit, as well as the baptismal font were made by Bethany alumnus Peter Meyer (JC87). On these pieces three large bands of wood (oak, walnut, and oak) and three raised slats within the middle band again depict the Trinity.

The hardanger altar cloth, made by JoAnn Teigland and Kristen Braun, reflects the Norwegian heritage of Bethany and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

On the altar and on either side, the cross, Bible stand, candle holders, and seven-branch candelabra, made by alumnus Gig Solli (JC30), continue the pattern of three bands of wood. The corpus, the body of Christ, on the cross, was hand-carved by Karel Tittl of the Czech Republic.

Chapel Organ

The organ, designed by Lynn Dobson in consultation with chapel organist Arlene Hilding, was built in 1979. At that time, the organ consisted of 19 stops, 21 ranks, and 1,116 pipes, distributed over two manuals and pedal. The organ had mechanical key and stop action, pallet and slider wind chests, and it was voiced on two inches of wind pressure.

The case is constructed of solid white oak with an oiled finish, accented by a black walnut pipe shades and console area, padauk medallions in the doors, and hand carved stop action levers which were also made of padauk. The natural keys were covered with ebony platings and the sharp keys were made of rosewood with ivory caps.

The organ was removed from the old chapel and placed into storage in 1994. It was set up and rebuilt in Dobson's Lake City, Iowa, workshop during the summer and fall 1995, then reinstalled in the new chapel in February and March 1996. The organ now contains 20 stops, 24 ranks, and 1,200 pipes.

Since the new home of the organ is substantially larger than the 12'-6" high room it was originally designed for, the organ was given an unobstructed gallery position in the center of the balcony to help sound project in the bigger space. To give it the added necessary height, both for tonal projection and visual impact, the organ was installed on a raised platform.

A new tamboured top was designed along with turnings and new brackets on the cornice molding. The new parts have been stained dark to contrast with the original work, and some of the moldings on the original case have been darkened to tie the new parts to the old.

The task of making the organ fit tonally into a building about five times the cubic volume of the old chapel took special planning. Tonal changes included the addition of new stops to the Pedal and the Great along with renovations of original stops throughout the organ. When the organ was installed the wind pressure was raised from 2" to 2-5/8", and the organ was revoiced with higher cut ups and wider flues.

Thanks to these changes, the organ has a stunning visual and aural presence in its new setting. It will undoubtedly enhance and edify the worship life of the Bethany community for many years to come.

Organ Stops

Manual I
Prestant 8
Koppelflöte 8
Octave 4
Nazard 2 2/3
Waldflöte 2
Tierce 13/5
Mixture IV
Trumpet 8
Manual II
Gedeckt 8
Rohrflöte 4
Principal 2
Gemsquinte 11/3
Zimbel II
Krummhorn 8
Subbass 16
Prestant 8
Gedeckt 8
Choralbass 4
Faggot 16
Trumpet 8

Relief Sculpture

Visible to everyone upon entering the campus courtyard, the large limestone relief that depicts the Trinity is a focal point on the east end of the chapel. The relief depicts the Ascension of Christ, the Holy Spirit as a dove, and the Father as lightning from the clouds.

The relief is a gift from Mankato-Kasota Stone, which also donated the stone used throughout the building. It was given in memory of Tom and Helen Coughlan, parents of the present owner.

The piece was designed by Bethany art professor William Bukowski and sculpted by Tom Miller of rural Mankato.

Stained Glass Windows

The stained glass windows, created by Gaytee Stained Glass of Minneapolis, serve as another visual expression of the Gospel message in Trinity Chapel. Designed to harmonize with both the architecture and altar paintings, the windows beautifully symbolize the glory of the Trinity.

The windows on the north side (pictured at left) are filled with symbols of the life of Christ. Viewers may notice that the sacraments, which are so important to the Christian, are clearly pictured in these windows.

The east windows (not pictured) depict the Father and the Holy Spirit in balance with the paintings of Christ above the altar. In these windows we see the Father's creative power in the sun, moon, and stars and the Creator's star, its six points remind us of the six days of Creation. The Father's all-seeing eyes watch over us with fatherly divine goodness and mercy. From the Father's hands flows a river, continually pouring out His gracious blessings upon us. This river of blessing flows along the north and south windows, just as God's blessings surround us throughout our life. The wings of the Holy Spirit, who appeared as a dove at Jesus' baptism, also embrace us from the east windows.

The two windows above the north entrance (not pictured) contain the seals of Luther and Bethany, as well as an oil lamp and the open Book representing the Word of God, the “One Thing Needful.”

Dedication and Gifts:

Trinity Chapel bears this dedication:

Dedicated to the glory of God
and in memory of His faithful servant
Marvin M. Schwan
Class of 1949

Special Gifts have been given in memory of:
Earl Aasen, Walter and Marvel Meyer, Thomas and Helen Coughlan, Sandra Miller, Rev. Arthur Drevlow, William Miller, Rev. Hugo Handberg, Thayne Obrecht, Mary Maginnis Hosking, Mary Reichwald Sargent, Jens and Ruth Hovland, Lisa Schlomer Schneider, Lenwick Hoyord, Vivian Solli, Nora Johnson, Harold and Margaret Voss, Harold Marzolf.