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The design of the Worship Centre was a development of the concept that the church is the people and that a church building should be conducive to worship. It should help the people to feel literally gathered around the Lord's table, from which they move out to serve the community. For this reason the particular site was chosen, as it is at the heart of the parish community, and the building is located at the western end as it is closest to the Jamison Centre. In addition, it is built low to the ground, to give the feeling of being amongst the community, rather than sitting high on a hill looking aloof and separated from the people.
Seating is arranged so that the worshippers can see and experience others worshipping with them. The relatively large window areas look out onto the gardens, but also express an openness to the community the “church” serves. The meditation court is included to provide a more intimate and private outdoor space for retreat outside of worship hours.
Internal wall surfaces are treated as simple panels, to provide a minimum conflict with colourful banners often hung on them. To maintain a peaceful atmosphere, types of surface and colour variation within the internal space are kept to a minimum.
The sanctuary area is raised above the main auditorium, both to express the importance of the altar and to maintain clear sight lines towards this space. The altar rails are included only for functional reasons and are as unobtrusive as possible.
This sketch of the Worship Centre
is by Hugh W. Groser.
The structure of the building is an expression of the fact that without Christ the Christian church would fall down. The main structural frame consists of two large steel beams, intersecting to form a cross. This cross takes the majority of the roof load and all functions in the church are defined within the cross's arms, including the courtyard. The intersection of the two beams forms a movement transferring haunch, which is elongated to form a Christian cross “keystone”, without which the structure would literally fall down. “How true of life! Christ bears all our burdens.”
The title of the parish is “Holy Covenant Anglican Church” and the Old Testament symbolism of the tent form, as an expression of the covenant relationship between God and the Israelites - that He would be with them in the Tent (Tabernacle) as they moved towards the Promised Land - is expressed in the building's visual form. The curved roof which sweeps down from the spire, and the choice of a light tile and similar wall colour, give the impression of a simple tent.
A large wooden cross stands outside the sanctuary, to remind people that Christ is not confined within the church building, but is out in the community also.
Adapted from Beverley Barnes' book “A Noble Experiment …” [ISBN 1 875650 12 1].
Page version: 2017-10-04 (irm)