Rebuilding the Lutheran Church of Our Lady in Dresden

Johann Sebastian Bach played the organ at the Lutheran Church of Our Lady in Dresden, which was destroyed in the allied bombing of that city during World War II.  Later, the ruins of that building became a center of protest against East German Communism.  Now the church has been rebuilt, using the rubble as well as new material.  Tomorrow it will be reconsecrated.

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating story about the church and its reconstruction, including a good “reading” of the current architecture.  Excerpts and pictures after the jump.

Source:  Wikipedia, Creative Commons

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Get rid of pews?

If you have ever been in one of the big cathedrals of Europe, you may have noticed that the chancel is filled with folding chairs.  Or consider this painting by our main man Lucas Cranach, showing Luther preaching Christ:

Notice how the congregation is mostly standing up.  Some of the women are in chairs, and a child is on the floor.  But there are no pews!  It turns out, pews are a relatively recent invention.  They started as special seats of honor for the nobility or local gentry, which the families had to pay for.  (Notice that if you visit a colonial-era church.)  Still most Orthodox churches do without pews.  Fr. George W. Rutler gives us the history of pews, making the case that they aren’t necessarily a good idea.

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Round churches vs. linear churches

Much contemporary church architecture features sanctuaries “in the round,” so that the worshippers can see each other.  Traditional churches are linear, with a sequence of spaces facing the altar.  (Actually, the super-traditional churches are also cruciform, with the congregation coming together in the Cross.)  After the jump, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, a Roman Catholic priest, critiques “round churches” and traces the linear design back to the Bible and its requirements for the Temple and the Tabernacle. [Read more...]

Church design that appeal to Millennials

The Christian pollsters and research company the Barna Group has researched what kind of church architecture and design elements appeal most to the Millennial generation, the 18-29 year-olds that churches are trying hard to reach.

Briefly, the Millennisals much prefer traditional church design, as well as quiet, contemplative spaces, to the auditorium-style sanctuaries with screens and speaker systems that have become popular in the Church Growth Movement.

After the jump, read about the study and see some samples of the findings. [Read more...]

The Most Beautiful Churches

In response to the feature I posted about on the most ugly churches, Michael Sean Winters asked for nominations for the most beautiful churches.  No slide show and just a few links, but go here for some nominations in different categories:  The Most Beautiful Churches | National Catholic Reporter.

These are mostly Catholic churches, except for the Air Force Academy Chapel, but I think there are more beautiful churches than just these, ranging from very traditional to very modern styles.  What are your nominations?  Pictures or links to pictures would be helpful.  And don’t just consider famous churches from noted architects.  Feel free to point to what’s beautiful in your own church. [Read more...]

The Ugliest Churches in the World?

Is your church listed as one of the 35 ugliest churches in the world?  Nicholas G. Hahn, editor at RealClearReligion, has assembled a slide show of what he considers houses of worship that are “bizarre, weird, dumb, and gross. ”  These come from virtually all theological traditions.  Hahn says, “There is something to be said of the effect truly bad architecture has on a worshiper, but that’s for another time.”  We might as well take the time here.  Given that the Word of God can be truly preached in any kind of building, what harm can be done by bad architecture in a church?

For the slideshow go to RealClearReligion – The Ugliest Churches in the World – The Ugliest Churches in the World. [Read more...]