Friday, June 26, 2009

The Church is not the building

I’ve just discovered a piece on the handsome new building at The Salvation Army in Chelmsford, Essex UK

Having skimmed the text, and looked at the impressive images I’m still wrestling with my feelings, both about the perceptions of the writer, and the appropriateness of such a grand building for a movement such as ours. When I’ve had more time to gather my thoughts, I might post again.

One thing I am convinced about, though, is that the Church is not the building

Anyone got any thoughts?

Pic Credits: : Keith Collie


Anonymous said...

Totally agree - the church is not a building. We have a sign on the wall as you enter our building that pretty much says that. Blogged about it here

Johnny said...

I'll check the link!


caldjr said...

just catching up on blog reading and found this post johnny - thanks for sharing. You're so right - the church is us and not the building and i'm struggling to see where the church is coming into this dare I say "horrible" building (personal opinion). I am not a fan of big shiny buildings but can see from their website that they are at least doing things with it then can be identified as ministry. One paragraph in the architect report worries me though:
Immediately above the doors is the Salvation Army’s crest, an elaborate knot of a crucifix, crossed swords and a serpentine S, superimposed on a crowned sun. It is almost the only religious emblem in a space that is essentially secular in tone.

I dont know what to make of that. a building used by a church that is appearing secular in tone? Obviously, I'm just picking bits out and the architect report does go on to mention the use of the cross in lovely terms. I just hope and pray that the Corps/Church can make use of the building to do much good for the Kingdom and I hope and pray that one of the images shown on their website does not hold a hidden message - the huge band playing outside the 'closed down' Woolworths store.

much thought needed on my part on this issue. Thanks for raising it

Chris said...

That's a rather... er... striking building. It's just down the road from my parents' house so I should get to see it when I'm down there in October. From the photos... I'm not sure I like it.

Anyway, yes, the Church is not a building. The building is just where the Church meets up for corporate worship but we've got to remember that we're still the Church when we head out the door afterwards (unless there's a Grand Prix on, in which case we're just couch potatoes).

I get a bit annoyed when people say that the church is the house of God too. Have had to say a couple of times that they're right in one sense, but it's not the building, it's THEM.

Anonymous said...

Whether you like it or not is one thing, and it does seem a bit odd to me. BUT why should the Salvation Army not have a grand building. Any Christian should be trying to serve to the best of their ability. Choirs sing their best, bands play their best, officers try to make their sermons communicate effectively, paper sellers do their best, the ladies and men who make the tea try and make the best tea they can. Because they do it for Jesus. So why not have the best, striking, attention grabbing building you can. As long as it is fit for purpose and its purpose is fit for God.

Chris said...

No problem with the Army having striking buildings - have you seen Aberdeen Citadel? I think that's a fantastic landmark and makes it very easy to identify the Army in the city centre.

The danger is when people start thinking the building IS the Church, instead of being used BY the Church. You've hit the nail on the head - "So why not have the best, striking, attention grabbing building you can. As long as it is fit for purpose and its purpose is fit for God."

Johnny said...

Thanks for all the comments, folks!