Texas Churches and Open Carry

March 22, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Since January 1, of this year, Texas law has allowed licensed gun owners to display their handguns openly in public. My interest here is not in the law’s intention, nor under what circumstances one does or does not have the right to be armed. I visited a small church recently that brought the dilemma posed by the particular language of the law into focus. On the front porch, right next to a very ... Read More

Church Design & Construction

Temple Beth Tikvah One-and-a-Half Decades Later

March 18, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Family members have moved recently to Clear Lake, so my wife and I have become frequent visitors. We’d known the area a number of years ago. I grew up in Houston and one of my father’s earliest residential projects was built here for the astronaut, Charlie Bassett in the 1960’s. In the 80’s, in my early career, the office worked on a church here. In the late 1990’s, we also were working with a ... Read More

Sacred Architecture / Church Design & Construction

New Apostolic Church - Looking Sharp in South Austin

March 07, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

On a quiet residential street in South Austin a crisply maintained property stands out among the modest homes. The New Apostolic Church has a small building, not much larger than the neighboring homes. But this not a typical neighborhood church. The county tax records indicate the building was constructed in 1970. Then, in 1988, the National Organization of the New Apostolic Church purchased the ... Read More

Church Design & Construction / Austin

Open Air Narthex and One Very Big Fan

March 06, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Many faith traditions use the term “narthex,” for an entry space connected to a church or sanctuary. St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church just recently built a very successful narthex that connects to the church, classrooms and the fellowship hall. And it is completely open air, thanks to one very big fan. The structure above this gathering space is solidly built with wooden arches and exposed ... Read More

Church Design & Construction

Southeast Houston’s Mega Cross

March 04, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

I’ve seen the huge mega cross from the Sam Houston Parkway a number of times. Traveling east, its just before the interchange with I 45. I’ve included the address below, but you really won’t need it. The cross is so large, you’ll see it if you are anywhere in the vicinity. An embodiment of Texas bravado, it somehow seems perfectly placed, adjacent to one of Houston’s busiest highway interchanges. ... Read More

Church Design & Construction

Jubilee on the Hill

March 03, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

A long stretch of William Cannon Drive is fronted on both sides by dense trees and undeveloped fields. On the south side is a nature center, on the north, a conservation district. Along the open fields is a lone sign for the Jubilee Christian Center marking a single driveway that weaves its way up a hillside. I’ve looked up the hill a number of times, but have never seen the church building. So ... Read More

Church Design & Construction / Austin

A Move South Saves Nova Scotia Church

February 28, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

We visited Eastern Canada over the past several years and we noticed the number of historic churches that had been converted to secular uses. Another preservation option is to move the structure to a community that needs it. All Saint’s Church was put up for sale with hopes that it would continue to serve as a worship space in a new location. A pastor in Abita Springs, Louisiana found the church ... Read More

Church Design & Construction

Cameron Road Interior Is Decades Ahead Of Its Time

February 27, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

At some point in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, someone or some group had a prescient vision for adding to an established church. Instead of using hallways to connect new offices, classrooms, and a fellowship hall to the existing sanctuary, the decision was made to create a large central gathering place. That space is at the center of today’s Cameron Road Church of Christ. The space is framed ... Read More

Church Design & Construction / Austin

Earth Angels Pets Destined for Old Church

February 26, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

A pet store looking to expand several years ago found sanctuary in…..a sanctuary. Earth Angels Pet Supply in San Marcos, Texas moved into an old church building. They left the shape mostly unchanged but they did add a vibrant new paint scheme. They used red wall-sized letters to spell the word “PETS.” They kept the steeple, though the cross is removed. Even the church marquee at the street is ... Read More

Church Design & Construction

Commercial Building Gets Grace

February 25, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

There’s a growing number of former church buildings being converted to new uses. Of course, the reverse is also true, commercial buildings are frequently transformed into churches. In this neighborhood, Grace Fellowship Baptist Church took half of a commercial building for its new home. With added masonry decorations outlining classic church profile, a stylized pediment and steeple define the ... Read More

Church Design & Construction / Austin