Monday, December 17, 2007

Useful place: Center for Congregations

Consider yourself lucky if you live in Indianapolis and its environs...through the generosity of the Lilly Endowment you have access to the Center for Congregations, which provides advice on everything from strategic planning to fixing the gutters to congregations within their nine county service area. Advice, conferences, training and even GRANTS!

Even if you're not in Indy, you can take advantage of their web resources, which range from church conflict to church technology and everything in between. Disappointingly, the resources on 'sacred spaces' are mostly booklists, but there are some useful articles related to church design in the 'staff writing' section.

More extensive information gleaned from their years of experience is contained in a new book, Holy Spaces: Matching Sacred Space with Mission and Message, receiving excellent editorial reviews. Here's the blurb:
"Buildings communicate. Stained glass windows, high altars, multi-purpose worship/gymnasium spaces, Plexiglas pulpits, padded pews--these and all other architectural elements say something about a congregation's theology and mission. They point to a faith community's beliefs about worship, identity, purpose, and more. From the stark simplicity of a Quaker meetinghouse to the splendor of a Romanesque Revival building, sacred spaces speak loudly. What they say can either reinforce a congregation's mission or detract from it.
Holy Places is designed to be used by congregations who are involved in or are contemplating work on their facilities. This could include renovation, remodeling, expansion, or building. No matter how extensive the project, approaching the work with mission at the forefront is the key to having a final result that strengthens the congregation's ministry. The process outlined in this book--discern, decide, do--lets congregations begin where they are and provides the help they need to move to the next level. "

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