- Paperback: 257 pages
- Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (November 19, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1566993458
- ISBN-13: 978-1566993456
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.6 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,755,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Holy Places: Matching Sacred Space with Mission and Message Paperback – November 19, 2007
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Have every member of your congregation read Holy Places; it offers a clear and compelling guide to rethinking--not just rebuilding--your sacred place. --Ron Wolfson, Author, The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Sacred Community, President, Synagogue 3000
Holy Places outlines each step of the building process, so your congregation can have confidence in the outcome--a completed project that matches your mission. --Cynthia Woolever, Sociologist, U.S. Congregational Life Project
Holy Places coaches you in the art of good communication by enhancing your discernment and decision-making skills. This book provides you with insight to help take advantage of one of your greatest resources: opportunity. --Keith Crouch, AIA, NCARB, Church Architecture Resources
About the Author
Nancy DeMott is an American Baptist Christian educator and pastor and is resource director for the Indianapolis Center for Congregations in Indianapolis, Indiana. Tim Shapiro is a Presbyterian pastor and is president of the Indianapolis Center. Brent Bill is a minister in the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and is the Indianapolis Center's executive vice president.
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The discern phase, often short changed in many church (synagogue, mosque) building projects is made up of discovery of the congregation's identity, mission and demographics. Frankly, I experienced this section as the most refreshing and interesting part of the book, particularly because it asks the team to see the congregation in its true context and mission.
At the same time this section concerned me on one particular point. From a Christian missiological perspective, focusing the question on "what is the mission of your congregation" could easily default to a self-referential exploration and fail to understand local mission in light of the missio dei (the mission of God). For that horizon readers will need to engage in extended biblical reflection and readings in missiology (Darrel Guder, Lesslie Newbigin, and others advocating the incarnational missional church) as a way of getting at questions that are prior to asking "Who is God calling us to be?"
The decide phase chapters include four dimensions: aesthetics, financial concerns, project delivery, and resources. In these chapters the authors offer a plain spoken understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of five methods of delivery (design-bid-build, design-build, etc.), a clear look at the tools and resources for the team's education and preparation for selecting "service providers," the process of getting at appropriate aesthetics, and the means of fund raising. As with all of the chapters in the book, each concludes with a helpful "bullet points" summary of the chapter and a set of questions for the sacred space team to deal with in light of the chapter's content.
The do phase treated in the last three chapters of the book considers communications, spirituality, and oversight--topics that are often overlooked in practice to the detriment of ongoing congregational life and the neglect of which sometimes results in a bumpy landing or crash of the project. While these, with the exception of oversight, may be softer matters, the authors hold the vision of matching the project to the message inherent in the process.
The book features seven useful appendices, from "facilities assessment" to "working with an architect" to a glossary and a very practical annotated resource list.
There was one notable oversight in the book. I found no clear treatment of the role and gifts that a liturgical design consultant could bring to the process, especially during the "discern" and "decide" phases. Readers might want to go to the Association of Consultants for Liturgical Space (ACLS) for more information and contacts.
No book or resource offers everything congregational leaders need in order to address the complex and demanding issues in building, renovating, expanding or redesigning a church, synagogue, or mosque. If I were going to recommend one book for its comprehensiveness and practicality, it would be Holy Spaces.