I gathered some thoughts for a chapel sharing today. Aside from just sharing about the charrette, I wanted to give the audience a primer since most of them probably never thought much about church design and architecture. When I reflect upon the work which VS is doing, my experience with them, and combine with what I learned in the past two years, I arrive at the conclusion (as well as a premise of what we do) that the Church has a story to tell. As a matter of fact, all places have stories to tell. The difference between a place and a space is that a place is a storied space (see Walter Brueggemann, The Land: Place as Gifts, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith). Frankly, the secular society is doing a much greater job than the churches. Theatres, shopping mall, and fitness centres tell their stories and instill (false) beliefs in people. ”Come buy this and you will be happy.” Or, “This product is necessary - you can’t live without it.” At the end of the day, they want your time and money. They are not particularly interested in you per se, but the longer you stay, the more you spend.

Churches, however, have the Gospel story to tell - a love story that gives life. We could use our buildings and our campus to help proclaim this story. Moreover, the unique vision and mission of the church which God has strategically planted at a particular geographical location.

Mel has coined different terms for this approach of designing and master planning churches. For me, It has been a joy ride in the past two years to begin at an unrelated field (theology) and arrived at the same conviction.

(Photo courtesy: Cardus.ca)

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