PRODUCT CODE: 9781788126113

Shaping the Assembly

by Thomas O’Loughlin
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How our built space is arranged affects us: “He’s invading my space!”; “This room is very homely”; And in every society buildings have been used to project power and authority, to regulate society, and to project an image of how that group sees itself. This is what Shaping the Assembly: How our buildings form us in worship is about.

Every religion has used buildings as part of their worship: from Newgrange to classical temples to churches built of steel, concrete and glass. And it was this concern of the Second Vatican Council that led to the changes in the arrangements in Catholic Churches in the 1960s and 70s.

This book brings together nineteen Christians – liturgists, pastors, architects, artists – from several churches and from around the world who all address the question of how space affects us in worship.

The topics covered include the role of light in a religious building, the need for space to accommodate liturgical dance, the varying needs of spaces for different liturgies, accounts of how communities have become creative with space, and about how the liturgical renewal begun in Vatican II should continue today.

Born in Dublin, O’Loughlin’s principal expertise lies in historical theology. He is an expert on how variations in practices and interpretations of Eucharistic celebration can lead to inter-church disagreement. He is involved in ecumenical reflections on the nature of eucharistic activity and has explored whether a richer understanding of the nature of worship could overcome inherited misunderstandings and divisions among Christians.