God's House is Our House
Re-imagining the Environment for Worship
2007 Catholic Press Association Award Winner!
God’s House Is Our House serves as a platform for rethinking the Catholic environment for worship. Father Vosko provides a theoretical foundation for building or renovating a worship space, by drawing upon biblical, theological, and ecclesiological sources as well as studies on architecture, spatial settings, and creative problem solving.
Since Vatican II, changes have occurred in liturgical texts, music, and life-cycle rituals, especially the Eucharist. Cathedrals and churches have also been transformed, making a formative impact on the life of the church. Some say that new and renovated churches no longer feel like God’s house. Others maintain that a developed understanding of liturgy requires worship settings that accommodate the ritual making of the community.
The liturgical reforms that have guided Catholic, Episcopal, and Lutheran congregations over the last half-century have transformed what these denominations know about worship. Worshipers are no longer spectators, but active participants in the ritual acts that once were the sole possession of the clergy. As the liturgy is modified, church buildings are altered. Almost overnight God’s house has new owners and users and, once again, is known as a house for the church.
How does all such change affect the architectural style of church buildings? Here Father Vosko considers worship space dilemmas and offers practical advice. This book is for faith communities and design professionals. It addresses diverse opinions regarding the environment for worship and through photography and illustration features award-winning examples of new and renovated places of worship.
Father Richard S. Vosko, PhD, Hon. AIA has been a design consultant for 35 years. His award-winning work continues to shape worship environments in different faith traditions throughout North America. He is a Catholic priest from the Diocese of Albany, New York.
If I were renovating a church or building a new one, this book would be my bible. It is eminently down-to-earth yet visionary at the same time. There is something in it for everyone: pastors, architects, fundraisers, liturgists, building committees. No wonder Richard Vosko's name is associated with some of the finest new and renovated churches in this country.
Father Michael G. Ryan, St. James Cathedral, Seattle, Washington
In a very short 250 pages, Father Vosko has brought many 'new things out of our old storeroom', things like 'proxemics' and 'Gothic revival', things that are of great importance to pastors, architects, building committees, and bishops, too. He offers valuable and needed advice on art education for pastoral leaders and working with artists. This book gives profound and practical insights that should nurture good discussion in a parish. The resources are a gold mine.
Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman, STD, SSL, Bishop of Erie, Erie, Pennsylvania
Fr. Vosko's new book is thoroughly comprehensive and therefore unusually useful, primarily to Roman Catholics, but also to other Christians. Vosko has been a well-known consultant for decades and has a vast experience, which he shares. He is a conservative, scholarly, and entirely faithful to official church documents and to Vatican II. He is familiar with, but not persuaded by, gusts of reaction in the liturgical current. But he is brightly alert, as few consultants are, to the responsible social and technical issues, such as "green" building, that are alive in the architectural profession.
E.A. Sovik, FAIA, Northfield, Minnesota
There is something for everyone: pastors, architects, fundraisers, liturgists, and the project committee.
Music and Liturgy
Are you planning to build yourself a church? Whether you answer `yes' or `no' to this question, you may find God's House is Our House a very good read.
Music and Liturgy
Drawing on 35 years of hands-on experience, Vosko provides useful and inspired advice for congregations, clergy, architects, and artists, and, ultimately, anyone who wants to create places that elevate the human spirit.
Faith & Form
The book is both scholarly and down to earth as well as being visionary, drawing on the deep well of the author's experience both as a priest in the diocese of Albany and as a liturgical and design consultant. Stressing the need for catechesis and the education of pastoral leaders the book embraces theology, liturgy, sacred space, architecture, the role of art, worship, interculturation, and brings them all together in one encyclopaedic volume.
For any community beginning to think of building a new worship space or renovating an older one-even those who might not find Vosko's work appealing-this book is an excellent resource with which to begin. For here we have a teacher who moves us beyond questions of style to a methodology for raising to consciousness the understandings of God and church that are at work in every dimension of church design.
God's House is Our House is a beautifully designed and printed book intended first of all for those who are involved in planning the building or renovation of cathedrals, churches and chapels.
. . . provides a foundation for building or renovating a place of worship and presents a thorough checklist to follow for spaces, art, furnishings and appointments . . . , and offers practical advice to those beginning in the middle of or considering such a project.
Vosko has crafted a book for the church that is eminently pastoral and practical. Engagingly written and fully illustrated with 111 photographs and church plans, God's House Is Our House is a refreshingly balanced treatment of a topic that can bring out the best and worst in Roman Catholics who are faced with the prospect of renovating or building a place for worship. This comprehensive work, underpinned by scholarship evidenced in helpful footnotes throughout, will serve a wide range of readers, from pastors and architects to local building committees and graduate students of theology and ministry. Readers will discover within its pages a welcome guide to how a community can truly re-imagine an environment for worship that is hospitable, beautiful, and faithful to the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
Catholic Library Association
This is a book written from personal and professional experience. Clearly, this text presents itself as a pastoral resource and guide to considering the most important aspects of building new or renovating existing worship spaces. In many circumstances, when projects of this magnitude are considered in local parishes or cathedrals, the liturgical and aesthetic considerations are often lost to conversations about cost and efficiency. Father Vosko brings those conversations back to the realm of possibility before issues of cost are considered. He encourages his readers to be imaginative and daring to create a place for worship that embraces the ritual acts undertaken by the people of God.
Based on this experience, Vosko has crafted a book for the church that is eminently pastoral and practical. Engagingly written and fully illustrated with 111 photographs and church plans, God's House Is Our House is a refreshingly balanced treatment of a topic that can bring out the best and worst in Roman Catholics who are faced with the prospect of renovating or building a place for worship.
Catholic Library World
God's House is Our House is a must-read for every member of a parish committee that is charged with the responsibility of bringing wisdom to the planning table and who must then make informed decisions for the next generations of worshippers in a beautiful new or renovated church.
In trying to engage worshipers into being `conscious and active participants,' Vosko has created an excellent resource to encourage such a process. For those wishing to dream anew their worship space or renovate it, this book is must reading and very helpful.
There is a lot of good practical advice in this book, plenty of interesting illustrations, many important issues are raised . . .
God's House Is Our House is a book that could be profitably used by any congregation in a liturgical tradition. God's House is where His Gifts are regularly given to His People.
Liturgy, Hymnody, & Pulpit
Creating Uncommon Worship