February 4, 2014

COMMENTARY: What shopping malls can learn from churches

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Color photocrome postcard of the Hillsdale Shopping Center, as seen from the front entrance sign by the Macy's anchor, depicted shortly after the shopping center opened in the mid-1950s.

Photo courtesy of Igor Stchogol via Wikimedia

Color photocrome postcard of the Hillsdale Shopping Center, as seen from the front entrance sign by the Macy's anchor, depicted shortly after the shopping center opened in the mid-1950s.

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SAN MATEO, Calif. (RNS) Having tried hard in several churches to raise funds for legacy expenses, I know it's a tough sell, and getting tougher. And it should be a tough sell. Churches had no business building facilities they could barely afford to construct.

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  • Wait! Don’t toss out the building just yet! While I agree, some congregation members can get overly zealous with “their” church, the real issue is how the environment supports meaningful and spirit-filled worship. As an architect, I work with both established congregations, and new communities, and there’s great value in deep roots and a beautiful environment. The key question is what a congregation does in its space. Great worship can and does happen in spaces that are brand new and in historic places hundreds of years old.