To Mature in our understanding of faith, to Mature in our relationship to god is what we all want to achieve through our presence in worship so I ask how does the architecture of the church support our goal of Maturation?  I was once told by a critic in college that it is OK for a design to be simple but not simple minded.  This was good advice and applies here in that as we consider the design of worship spaces there needs to be complexity that allows for differing maturity levels of the worshipers. The monument or loci of the maturation process is the Ambo the place where the word is presented.  Through our understanding of the word of Christ we mature in our faith.  The design of the Ambo and its location in the worship space is an opportunity to enhance the ritual in the liturgy of the word and to create an experience that is distinct and clarifies the importance of this key function separate from the Font, Chair and Altar.  The location of the Ambo in a larger organizational scheme will provide the ritual context for the word.

Baptistery of Pisa


The example shown is a renaissance Ambo rich in symbolism.  The use of any of these concepts as a basis for artistic exploration to provide added layers of meaning and memorial is a starting point for rediscovering the Ambo and it’s ritual place in the worship service.  Ambo design can provide symbol and meaning to be understood as the worshiper matures in their faith. The good news is proclaimed as it was at the empty tomb of Christ in the garden.



Illumination  – Maturation – Consummation

The primary functions that architecture should support the design of a church.  More to come on this topic

John Freshnock



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