Volume 34 Pentecost 1998

Reformed Worship Buildings: Architectural and Theological Meanings - Centenary Lecture

Professor Bernard Reymond, University of Lausanne

The author examines examples of Reformed church architecture in Switzerland and elsewhere, and finds that they conform in general to a 'choral square', proposing that the reformed worshipping congregation is firstly a choral congregation and only secondly a hearing congregation. This model not only enables communion but allows communication, eye contact, better singing. The reasons for the later length-wise organisation are examined. The characteristics of recent Reformed buildings are then appraised.

A Response to the Centenary Lecture

The Very Revd Professor J A Whyte

In responding to the lecture by Professor Bernard Reymond, Professor Whyte responds to the question, Is a genuine reformed architecture possible today? But do we have a reformed understanding of the church and its worship? Major influences are American fundamentalism and revivalism, and an undiscriminating and uncritical ecumenism. Whyte laments the closure of churches, the lack of imagination in preserving significant buildings. He notes that the Church Service Society began to revitalise worship through the recovery of a genuine Reformed tradition, but later an Anglicising archaism came in. After 1945, architects were not briefed in terms of worship, education, preaching and theology. St Columba's Glenrothes broke the mould.