Art, Architecture, and Symbolism
Many components of the art and architecture in our church building point to ideas about the Christian faith. A number of examples are included here.
A large banner frequently occupies the front wall. In it a pure white light is refracted and reflected in a rich jewel-like spectrum. The rhythm of light and dark stripes moves into an upward-sweeping crescendo as a visual representation of harmonious praise-singing.
A series of twelve banners runs around the back wall of the sanctuary. The first and last ones represent the Summary of the Law given by Christ and the middle ten represent the Ten Commandments as recorded in the Old Testament. The center circle in each contains an image for shalom, the peace of God. The rectangular backdrops contain images of sinful brokenness. Detailed notes are provided on a label with each of the banners. As well, the church keeps a large and expanding inventory of banners and other visuals for seasonal celebrations and special occasions.
Entrance & Foyer
The symbol of the Christian Reformed denomination combines a cross with a triangle, the latter representing the Trinity. The logo serves as a constant reminder that the congregation is part of a much larger body of believers. It can be found on the door handles of the church and on the gateposts at the street.
The foyer offers an informal space where access to all areas of the building intersects. Its exterior is bounded by the sanctuary, the church office, and the church library.The rock at the entrance to the sanctuary reminds us of God’s unchanging faithfulness and that Christ is the cornerstone of the new heaven and earth.
The ceramic artwork by the drinking fountain near the church’s main entrance consists of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, Alpha and Omega. This gift from members of the congregation tells us that Christ is the beginning and the end of all things: eternal, creator of all, and ruler over the entire universe and every dimension of our lives.
The drinking fountain itself, both symbolic and practical, reminds us of soul-refreshing streams experienced by those who follow the Good Shepherd and of Christ’s assertion that he is the Living Water that gives and sustains new life in all who come to him.
The low stone wall in the sanctuary can be seen as the wall of a sheep-fold, representing the security and protection that Jesus offers his flock. The system of bulky concrete pillars and large steel roof trusses expresses power and permanence, and gives one the feeling of being in a cathedral. The design team chose to value architectural simplicity and order.
The fan-shaped seating arrangement uses a cross-aisle rather than a center aisle, emphasizing sharing and gathering instead of procession and rank. The side entrances allow for plenty of eye contact as the congregation gathers.
Worship is a dialog between earth-bound humans and a transcendent God, and is expressed visually in our sanctuary. The human elements (pews, doors, pipe organ) are oak. The ‘divine’ elements (liturgical furniture, front walls, and encircling bulkhead) are pure white.
The liturgical furniture provides for and expresses three main ways that the church ministers to worshippers. The baptismal font provides the means by which God receives and incorporates us into his church. The integrated pulpit and communion table features the ways by which our Lord feeds us and nourishes us in Word and communion. To elaborate just a bit:
Baptism demonstrates that sin is washed away by Christ and that the sinner has entered a new life of covenant (partnership) with him. The design of the baptismal font is symbolic in several ways. The base forms the cross of Calvary on the floor representing Christ’s suffering and atonement. The metal holding up the bowl is like a crown indicating his Kingship. The bowl is shaped like a huge contact lens reminding us that we live in God’s sight, and that we see clearly by faith where once we were blind. The broken profile rippling down the side shows the brokenness of sin being washed away.
Preaching the Word equips the church to serve the world obediently and wisely and to know the truth about God’s action in human history and in our lives. The Bible is open and prominently visible. The woven pulpit hanging bears the descending dove that symbolizes the Holy Spirit, who alone can give us faith to believe and live out the Word proclaimed .
Communion (the Lord’s Supper) demonstrates that Christ’s body and blood were shed for the continuous forgiveness, renewal and nurture of his people. The height and dimensions of our communion table were selected to emphasize that this is a household or family meal rather than a magical ritual. It is, however, marked by dignity and reverence.