You’ve read correctly. A new church is to be built in our parish in Zurich in the next few years. We want this building, which will replace our present church, to become a spiritual and holistic home in the ecosystem “area Hirzenbach” and beyond. A place of God. We want it to touch on all the senses of the people who come into contact with this building and the life within it.
In a special way, old churches have brought all human senses into contact with God’s desire to give us an abundant life. They were richly decorated with stonemason works. They communicated biblical figures and their stories to illiterate people. The high nave (ship) of the church amazed people about the greatness of God and the music touched them again in a completely different sensory level. And these are to name just a few of the ways churches have touched people in the past.
Is it Possible even today?
We are challenged by the question: How can we build a church today in such a way that God’s affectionate love to us human beings can be seen and experienced by all our senses?
One thing is clear: the old church style is not suitable for this anymore. But we believe that even today there are possibilities to make God’s beauty, peace, love, hope, joy, and this full life visible in a building. A building that unites all aspects of our daily living, working, leisure and spirituality. COFFEE&DEEDS, the church’s wonderful coffee place, has already fulfilled a part of this dream. The new church continues this thread and tries to implement it even more extensively. It should become a place where people from the neighbourhood and beyond are drawn into and their lives touched and permeated in all dimensions.
It is clear to us that the best building can only be a shell for the life that is lived in and around it. This life is best displayed by people who are touched by God’s great story and are moved by it. They will fill the structural shell and be the spiritual building.
As I am writing this my mind turns to all kinds of pictures how the church in Europe makes the gospel accessible to all senses. But I am also thinking of many missed opportunities and I am wondering how much has been forgotten or not yet be uncovered and put to use for the kingdom of God. I desire so much that the Evangelical Alliance (from the grass roots – churches, to the National EAs, the European EA and the World EA) can be used by God to be a place where ideas flourish and materialise. A place where new ways to live out the big story of God for sake of the peoples in Europe can be shared, tested and put into action by churches, organisations and networks.
A high standard that we want to meet as a local church! May we aspire to nothing less in the Evangelical Alliance!
General Secretary EEA
PS. Art, beauty in painting, sculpture, rhyme and sound create entrances to truth and reality in very different and strong ways.