This article asks the kinds of questions that force congregations to think about the power of their worship space to form worship that is faithful to the gospel and meaningful to all participants. The questions are asked in light of the Reformed tradition, but can be modified to reflect the specific theological commitments of any given worshiping community.
Noting that the New Testament does not advocate retaining the elaborate rites and liturgical spaces of Old Testament Judaism, the Brethren tradition emphasizes simplicity in its design of the worship space. The Table, with its bread and cup, are the only symbols present.
In addition to concerns raised in earlier articles, Baptist churches are designed in order to facilitate communication among worshipers and to serve as settings for evangelistic services.
This article argues for an environment of worship that encourages the full participation of the people and complements the symbolic meaning of the actions of worship, particularly the sacraments. It is written in the context of Roman Catholic worship, but reflects the concerns of nearly all highly liturgical traditions. Many of these have been emphasized throughout the Christian church, given the recent phenomenon of liturgical convergence.
Every liturgical space reflects the theological commitments of its designers. Every time a liturgical space is used, those ideals shape the experience of those who worship within it. Space for worship must be designed with concern for the theological and liturgical commitments of a given worshiping community.