Protestant Worship and Church Architecture: Theological and Historical Considerations

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Wipf and Stock Publishers, Feb 28, 2003 - Religion - 236 pages
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Each year a billion dollars is spent on church buildings in the United States. Yet there is no authoritative book available to guide building committees, ministers, and others responsible for new churches in the theological implications of their work.

Dr. White explores the theological and historical considerations relevant to building for Protestant worship. Surprisingly, these are often ignored by building committees, usually with disastrous results. His approach is highly original, especially in his theological treatment of worship; yet his book is also a operative in the largest sense, in that it relates theology to practice.

Professor White begins with a critical analysis of contemporary concepts of Protestant worship and then defines the liturgical factors in church design. Following this, there are four chapters giving an historical account of various experiments from the third century to the present. This section indicates the tremendous variety of possibilities open to the church builder, many of which have been ignored too long. A final chapter deals with emotive factors - all vitally relevant to the architect: choir, liturgical art, and style.

The opportunity to design a new church building occurs only once or twice in each generation of church members. It is all the more important that it be done carefully since the building will continue to affect the life of the congregation for many years. Until fundamental questions as to what the Church is and what the Church does in worship are raised, a congregation is not prepared to build. This book will help churches find the answers.

The 155-item bibliography should be of value to many since a recent extensive bibliography on Protestant church architecture does not exist. This book also contains 60 diagrams of experiments in plan garnered from nearly 2000 years of history.

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Two Approaches to Worship
Principles of Liturgical Architecture
Early and Medieval Patterns
Reformation Experiments
Behind the Current Stalemate
Recent Experiments
That Which Is Seen

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About the author (2003)

James F. White is Professor Emeritus of Liturgical Studies, University of Notre Dame.

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