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An Architecture of Immanence
Architecture for Worship and Ministry Today
PAPERBACK; Published: 1/22/2007
ISBN: 978-0-8028-3209-2
Price: $ 26.00
327 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 7 X 9.25
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Series: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies (CICW)

In this book Mark Torgerson shows how modern architecture has heavily influenced the construction of new sacred spaces, producing a new way of building that emphasizes God's coming near to us.

Torgerson begins by discussing God's transcendence and immanence and showing how church architecture has traditionally interpreted these key concepts. He then traces the theological roots of immanence's priority from liberal theology and liturgical innovation to modern architecture. Next, Torgerson illustrates this new architecture of immanence through particular practitioners, focusing especially on the work of theologically savvy architect Edward Anders Sövik. Finally, he addresses the future of church architecture as congregations are buffeted by the twin forces of liturgical change and postmodernism.

An Architecture of Immanence will interest architects, liturgists, and all Christians who seek to read the sacred spaces of the recent past.
David Morgan
— Valparaiso University
"Historically grounded studies of Christian architecture in the United States that proceed on a theologically sophisticated and committed path are few and far between. This has meant that the American church has all too often overlooked one of its richest material resources ? its own buildings. Mark Torgerson has changed that with this pioneering book. He not only sets a new standard for theological reflection on the material culture of belief but also shows theologians ? a notoriously logocentric tribe ? how central to their craft the built environment really is."
Virginia Raguin
— College of the Holy Cross
"A lucid and concise analysis of the impact of modernism on church design in the twentieth century. . . The final chapters bristle with practical suggestions for a transformation of building practice that retains many of the values of modernism with a richer understanding of multiplicity and reference to the past. . . Essential reading for anyone responsible for creating or renovating churches today."
Richard S. Vosko
— author of God's House Is Our House
"This study is sure to fire up more conversation about what constitutes an appropriate environment for worship today. Mark Torgerson carefully traces theological, architectural, and liturgical movements to explore the emergence of church designs that are more immanent and less transcendent. His ecumenical framework will help the search for common ground in this field among many Christian denominations. The footnotes, appendixes, and bibliography are valuable references for anyone building or renovating a place of worship."
Michael E. DeSanctis
— author of Building from Belief
"A clear-headed book reminding us of the nobility of designing places of worship for the commingling of the church with its Christ, Emmanuel."
Susan J. White
— Brite Divinity School
"An Architecture of Immanence is both courageous and challenging. As Mark Torgerson guides us through the difficult terrain of twentieth-century architecture for the church, he is at every turn raising the question What does our church building say about the Christian life and witness in our time? With passion and skill he undertakes the daunting task of arranging the diverse manifestations of modern church design into a coherent pattern, and then invites readers to become involved in the process of thinking theologically about their own worship spaces. To step into this book is to understand more deeply the rich interplay between the shape of our churches and the shape of our Christian calling."
R. Kevin Seasoltz, O.S.B.
— Editor, Worship
"As a practicing artist and a trained academic theologian, Mark Torgerson is well qualified to write a book on an architecture of immanence. Unlike Gothic churches, which emphasize the utter transcendence of God, many modern churches stress the immanence of God present in human persons and communities; they give effective symbolic expression to the Pauline assertion that the gathered assembly of the faithful is indeed the body of Christ. In a world where human dignity and worth are considerably cheapened by violence and war, the nearness of God to suffering humanity gathered for worship is indeed a source of hope. I am pleased to recommend this well-written and researched volume enhanced by numerous photographs, useful appendixes, and an annotated bibliography."
Donald J. Bruggink
— coauthor of Christ and Architecture
"A must-read for any architect designing a church ? and very helpful for building committees as well. Torgerson analyses the interface between modern architecture and the church as servant community with God in its midst. By articulating our words about God and our response as worshiping community, this book will assist in building what we believe."