Friday, April 19, 2013

A Video on Church Architecture

Clearly, the current 8:45 service and the now retired Refuge service represent attempts to make worship more meaningful to modern Americans. Even the Saturday evening service might be said to have such an objective. I personally find none of these services attractive for regular worship. Some agree with this view; others do not. If there is a way to attract crowds of new worshipers to services at St. Paul’s, we have not found it.

I will be the first to admit that I do not know how to make worship at St. Paul’s  more “relevant” to people who do not regularly attend existing services. What moves me does not necessarily move others. Whereas I do not believe that every American Christian should be an Episcopalian, I do think there are more people out there than we sometimes realize who could happily join our church given the right circumstances.

What has me thinking about this is a video I found on Bosco Peters’ blog. Bosco is a priest in Christchurch, New Zealand, where the diocese is considering how it should rebuild its cathedral, which was largely destroyed by an earthquake two years ago. The video, which appears below, is narrated by Richard Giles, the former dean of Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral. That church made extensive architectural changes that facilitated liturgical changes. St. Paul’s, of course, has also made changes to its building, namely by modifying the chancel and building a platform extending to the crossing to accommodate a freestanding altar.

Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral made more significant architectural changes. I don’t mean to be endorsing such changes necessarily, but the video is thought-provoking. See if you don’t agree.

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