Seminar on Stewardship of Religious Buildings to be Held at General Seminary


Stewardship of Religious Buildings: The Church as Centerpiece of Community and Congregation
The General Theological Seminary
440 West 21st Street, New York

Thursday-Saturday, July 11-13, 2013

Single Day Ticket: $125
Three Day All-Access: $300

The General Theological Seminary with Lichten Craig Donaldson Architects will host a three-day seminar on the stewardship of religious institutions.  The seminar will look at religious buildings as both three-dimensional theological statements and as long-term assets and investments central to a church’s mission, focusing on physical and financial planning to enhance a church’s value as real property and a center in the larger community.

The American Institute of Architects will offer continuing education units (CEU) to participants.

The three-day seminar will focus on understanding stewardship as a rational planning process, managing change, and responsibly overseeing resources and, in particular, the church building as the shelter and centerpiece of community and religious life.  We will look at the concept of stewardship in the broadest sense from  day-to-day issues of facility management to the repair and renovation of  buildings, upgrade of systems, and common-sense principles of sustainable design.

The program will provide valuable information to seminarians, clergy and lay leaders, architects and preservationists, and facility managers to address the many complex issues of managing church buildings.  The seminar will emphasize the concepts of stewardship and renewal, not only as imperatives for the success of a church’s mission, but also as guarantors of its economic growth and survival.

On the first day of the seminar the Rev. Dr. Patrick Malloy, Episcopal priest and Professor of Liturgics at The General Theological Seminary, New York, will introduce the theological and historical origins of the church building as the physical center of community and religious life.

  • Participants will explore the historical and theological background of church architecture from the beginning of the “Jesus Movement”  to the present.
  • They will consider in some detail the divergences among the various Christian bodies at the time of the sixteenth-century Reformation.
  • Learners will discuss the contemporary ecumenical consensus on spatial arrangements and architectural styles suitable for worship in the 21st century.  Many examples representing a number of Christian denominations and reflecting the work of numerous architects and designers will be used as illustrations.
  • Dr. Malloy will use the nineteenth-century Oxford Movement and the concurrent Cambridge Camden Society as illustrations of how cultural/social and theological shifts have an impact on how existing church buildings are understood, retro-fitted, and used, and how new ones are designed and constructed.

The second and third days, presented by Kevin Lichten and Barry Donaldson, will provide a framework for planning and managing the church as a building of special importance, as a historic landmark, and as a real property asset. The presentation will include essential tools for defining goals and requirements, assessing existing conditions, preparing a master plan, and implementing a “road map” for future renewal and growth.

The second day will introduce some of the organizational, decision-making, and leadership issues that can significantly influence the life and growth of a church and ultimately its mission.

  • Stewardship will be described as a planning discipline and process starting from an existing conditions survey; to the preparation of a master plan, budget and cost analysis; and the establishment of a rational definition of needs and priorities.
  • Members of the seminar will explore what it means for a church to be “welcoming” in the context of openness and transparency, accessibility, and healthy and safe environments.
  • They will also review widespread maintenance and operational issues in the life and lifecycle of a church and discuss social, functional and physical change and principles of adaptability and re-use.

The third day will present sustainable practices with some examples of large and small church projects.

  • Learners will be introduced to some of the codes, standards and preservation guidelines and requirements that are typically required for securing grants and financial assistance.
  • They will engage in an in-depth review of building materials and methods, building infrastructure and systems.
  • The facilitators will present guiding principles of asset management, property valuation and setting aside financial reserves, operating budgets and capital budgets, and cost-benefit analysis.