I had the privilege earlier in the year of meeting with Washington DC based, internationally renowned, Catholic architect James McCrery. For a couple of hours in his studio, and then over lunch, we discussed the opportunity we face in Christchurch with the building (and rebuilding) of a number of churches.
As we chatted, other architects of his team who were working on Catholic church designs around the room joined in the conversation. Much of the work of James’ firm in recent years has been on the building and restoration of Catholic churches.
This week James is in Christchurch to work with priests, parishioners and architects. He will give a public lecture at Villa Maria College, Peer Street Christchurch, Wednesday 30 September at 7.30. All are welcome. Please spread the invitation.
There is a common fallacy that it costs more to build the kind of churches that feature on James’ website. This is not necessarily the case. Ask James about this at the public lecture.
Note too that I used the word “opportunity” about our Christchurch situation rather than “problem” or even “challenge.” I know that James is excited about the potential for the Church that exists in our Christchurch rebuild situation, and that he is also willing to help us in any way he is able to by working with us and especially with our local architects.
I know this will be significant formation opportunity for anyone who seeks to understand the importance of building churches that help us to grow in awareness of the reality of God-with-us, a God who is “building his house” among us. Even in my hours with James in July I grew in appreciation of the beauty of the life of faith, and I am confident that this will also happen for anyone who spends time with James during his visit.
To whet your appetite here is a brief video featuring James.