So often I hear, “a church should look like a church”, or “why do new churches always look like barns”, or “why are they trying to act like a church-in-the round in a cruciform shaped building?”.

Elements of Christian art, architecture and liturgy are not always synthesized so that we build or renovate churches that still do not serve our sacred space needs. A liturgical design consultant seeks to resolve those tensions by selecting exceptional artists and craftsmen, addressing the congregation’s needs through workshops, and understanding current theory about how the liturgical movement affects re-ordering. I find myself starting with counseling church administrators about the need for a holistic and sound plan if a church renovation is to be successful.

Churches need architectural refreshment, liturgical functionality and above all fine art – not just good enough religious art, but art that is gallery worthy – otherwise it cannot be transcendent. We need the sublime to transport our hearts before, during and after worship. We should heed (Anglican) Bishop Joe Fricker’s recent exhortation:

“Religious buildings should make religious statements”.

Our churches must have the design and liturgical art that will say, Yes, we do stand up for Jesus! Whether a memorial stained-glass window is being commissioned, or there is resistance to moving the altar out from the back wall or the whole nave and sanctuary needs refurbishment, a liturgical design consultant can work with the church so that everyone takes ownership of the change and the new is welcomed.

– Vanessa Wells

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