2020_010_A
Support the Café
Search our site

The Episcopal Church Welcomes You– if you can find the actual door

The Episcopal Church Welcomes You– if you can find the actual door

At my church, visitors cannot figure out where our front door is. The place, a traditional cathedral structure, is a fortress. Beautiful? Yes. Cold and unwelcoming? Probably, at least for first-time visitors.

So I read with interest a recent commentary by Carin Ruff about Episcopal worship space and access. She writes about two churches, starting with Saint Mark’s Church on Capitol Hill:

In both cases, progressive, welcoming congregations with landmarked neo-medieval buildings have sought to reconfigure their worship space for modern liturgical sensibilities and practices. In the process, they have reoriented access to their church buildings in a way that seeks to deformalize the approach to the building and erase distinctions among parts of the worshipping community, but which in fact ends up disorienting and segregating some users of the space.

As a liturgical church, one that expresses its theology through movement and action, the Episcopal Church needs to grapple with its built environment whenever it makes an adjustment in practice or doctrine. A change in attitude towards the sacred means a change in who goes where and who does what, not just in what is said or read or sung. The Episcopal Church in America has tended to be conservative and antiquarian in its architectural taste. For reasons of theology, Anglophilia, and cultural capital, Episcopal churches are more likely than others in the American landscape to be elaborate, medievalizing buildings whose layout and decoration lag a generation or several behind the practices and beliefs of the congregations that use them.

Read entire post here. I would love to know of churches that have found creative ways to combine our traditional, much beloved architecture, with the welcoming theology and practice we must create if we are to thrive.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

1 Comment
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Carinr

Hi, Carin here. I’m so happy my post proved thought-provoking! I just wanted to clarify that the church I wrote about was St. Mark’s, Capitol Hill, *DC*. I know both Washingtons have a Capitol Hill, but this is the eastern (and hotter) one. I should have the followup post, on Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, up tomorrow.

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café