Love Your Neighborhood: Thinking about Church Buildings and Congregations as Part of the Neighborhood

This session considered a church building as being part of, and contributing to, the neighborhood that surrounds it. We explored how a building connects to a neighborhood in terms of scale and style, helping to shape the public realm, and how threshold points operate between the church and the public.

Some congregations think too little of their buildings, and see the walls and property boundaries as containers of square footage for program and parking spaces for cars. Other congregations think too much of their buildings, seeing them as iconic sculptures bearing witness to beliefs and values in contradistinction to those of the surrounding community. In contrast to these views, this session considered a church building as being part of, and contributing to, the neighborhood that surrounds it. We explored how a building connects to a neighborhood in terms of scale and style, helping to shape the public realm, and how threshold points operate between the church and the public.

Presented at the 2007 Calvin Symposium on Worship.

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