American Sanctuary: Understanding Sacred Spaces by Louis P. Nelson

By Louis P. Nelson

This quantity examines a various set of areas and structures visible in the course of the lens of well known perform and trust to make clear the complexities of sacred area in the US. individuals discover how commitment sermons record transferring understandings of the assembly apartment in early 19th-century Connecticut; the alterations in evangelical church structure throughout the similar century and what that tells us approximately evangelical spiritual lifestyles; the influence of latest matters on Catholic church structure; the impression of globalization at the development of conventional sacred areas; the city perform of Jewish house; nature worship and vital Park in ny; the mezuzah and household sacred area; and, eventually, the non secular elements of African American backyard artwork.

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But perhaps for ministers and their congregations there was more to be gained by erring on the side of Webster’s first definition. These dedication sermons encouraged Congregationalists to think of their worship spaces as God’s proper dwelling place, sacred in the sense that they were dedicated to a spiritual purpose but also creeping close to sacred in the original sense, holy and inviolate. In a culture highly sensitive to feeling, it is not surprising that ministers would have wanted to capture and use such emotionally charged words and concepts to intensify the meaning of the place most central to the care and nurture of their flocks.

All the customary elements of a dedication sermon are evident in Reverend David Austin’s dedication sermon preached in the new meetinghouse of a small hamlet in north central Connecticut on December 21, 1815. Like most authors of these sermons, Austin sought to establish the proper nature of public worship and, also like most authors, he turned to the Old Testament as the chief authority on the matter. ” Setting out the direction of the sermon to follow, Austin told his audience that he would first consider the importance of the place where God records his name, and then consider the character and promise of such places.

Although still resembling domestic architecture, they responded to the Georgian emphasis on symmetry and order. In the middle of one of the long sides a recognizable primary entrance was often surrounded by fluted pilasters and a highly decorative pediment, and elaborate cornice moldings frequently capped the exterior walls. Most of these buildings had galleries, or balconies, on two or three sides of the audience room. Bell towers became more common along one of the short sides of the rectangular buildings.

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