Combing Through a Year’s Offerings

December 30, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

When I committed this year to a blog post every day I quickly realized that many early ideas or images might not make the cut. Some days offered a wealth of opportunities. I’d pick one topic with the thought of coming back later for another, though that didn’t always happen. At other times a good idea took a back seat to something more urgent. Writing about responses to tragic events I often ... Read More

Worship Spaces

LéTourneau Opus 131 Organ - In Progress

November 21, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

As our project with the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd nears completion, we scheduled an office tour today. I wanted the whole office to meet the organ specialists from LéTourneau, one of the premier organ builders anywhere. Their instrument has been many years in the planning, but the work to construct the organ began just this summer when the pieces were crafted from specialty materials ... Read More

Worship Space / Liturgical Arts / Worship Spaces

Historic Church with a History of Mergers

November 17, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

This beautiful edifice on West Pine Street in West, Texas is worth noting. The wooden ornamental construction includes delightful variations on the tradition of what we now call carpenter gothic architecture. The original congregation was founded in 1875 as the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. By 1883 they constructed their first church on this site. In 1901, as times changed and the congregation ... Read More

Worship Spaces / Sacred Architecture / Historic Preservation

Three Religions Worship Together in Jerusalem

November 13, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

A bold, and some would say dangerous experiment was successfully conducted in Jerusalem in September. A group of religious leaders representing Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths held eight days of shared worship services together. The group gathering, given the title AMEN, was held in a communal house of prayer, a music school converted for the purpose with modest yet highly symbolic ... Read More

Religious / Worship Spaces / Liturgical Arts

St. John Lutheran, New Ulm

October 29, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Drive through the small town of New Ulm in Central Texas and you’ll find a general store, a bank and even a post office off the main roads. But you’ll have to look a bit harder for the church. One block off the main street is Hickory Street where St. John Lutheran Church stands at the end of the block.   The congregation was founded in 1867 by German immigrants. According to the New Ulm Chamber ... Read More

Holy Place / Historic Preservation / Worship Spaces

Living History at Trinity Lutheran in Frelsburg

October 24, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Trinity Lutheran Church in Frelsburg has deep roots in pioneer Texas. German settlers began populating the area in 1834. By 1855, this site was purchased for a church and cemetery and a new congregation was formed. The first building, according to the Texas State Historical Marker, was destroyed in a windstorm and was replaced by the current wooden structure. Curiously, there is no date for this ... Read More

Historic Preservation / Worship Spaces

Worship Facilities Entries Don’t Measure Up

October 22, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Features on the Worship Facilities newsletter and website offer a snapshot of current trends or cutting edge ideas in church design. Targeted to a largely evangelical Christian audience, recent features have ranged from branding (for both the ministry and the pastor) to evaluations of seating options. The current Worship Facilities feature on church entries, with its emphasis on covered drop-offs ... Read More

Worship Spaces / Church Design & Construction

Servant Church Grows From Asbury UMC

October 04, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

I’ve passed by and noticed this church campus for many years. Stone walls under a canopy of oak trees have offer an appealing image of a quiet neighborhood church, Asbury United Methodist. Not long ago, however, there was a new sign out front. The Servant Church sign on the stone wall offers a hint of something new.   The church’s website invites visitors to join a young and diverse group ... Read More

Worship Spaces / Sacred Architecture / Historic Preservation

Worship Space and the Psychology of Home

September 30, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Two professors at the University of Texas have weekly series on our local public radio station that I really enjoy. Each week, Two Guys on Your Head deals with some aspect of psychology and the human brain. This series strikes the right balance between scientific rigor and cultural commentary to make some tough issues very approachable. Today, in response to a listener whose home was destroyed in ... Read More

Religious / Holy Place / Worship Spaces / Sacred Symbols / Design Process

Overlooked Hyde Park Christian a Mid Century Landmark

September 17, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

I’m the first to admit I’ve overlooked the quality of the Hyde Park Christian Church design. Perhaps it’s because it reflects a dubious church trend of using a covered drop off for the front façade. The church is placed on a noticeable slope, with a large, barren parking lot separating it from busy 45th Street. At first glance, the entryway gives the composition the feeling of a garage or loading ... Read More

Worship Space / Worship Spaces