From Silver Screen to Sacred Home: The Journey of an Evangelical Congregation through the Lens of Space

  • Author / Creator
    Muster, Janine
  • In this manuscript, the author unravels the journey of Next Christian Community, an Evangelical congregation in St. Albert, from being a subsidiary ministry within St. Albert Alliance Church, its mother church, to becoming its own independent entity through the lens of space. After Next Christian Community separated from St. Albert Alliance Church, it moved into a once operating movie theatre, the former Village Landing Movie Theatre in St. Albert. Due to Next Christian Community’s members’ renovation and decoration processes, the former use of the movie theatre is now hardly recognizable. In contrast to their Evangelical background, members of Next Christian Community incorporated a variety of religious symbolism such as crosses in various forms, stained glass, paintings that depict biblical narratives, prayer benches, and a separated prayer area within the sanctuary. The display of these objects in their worship facility suggests that members of Next Christian Community have a fascination with and a longing for conventional/traditional church spaces. Despite this fascination with and longing for conventional/traditional church spaces, they nonetheless left traces that are reminders of the space’s former use as a movie theatre. Throughout this work, the author uses her ethnographic data in order to argue that Next Christian Community’s members not just simply transformed a former movie theatre into their worship facility but instead created a spatial hybrid that combines church space, home space, and community space. By seeking to understand and to explain such a spatial hybrid, the author contributes to the discussion surrounding the shift, the ‘on-going process of re-articulation,’ in the production of contemporary worship spaces, showing how an Evangelical congregation rearticulates its relationship to the sacred, and subsequently its relationship to the profane. Furthermore, the author finds that this re-articulation of the relationship between the sacred and the profane, as part of a congregation’s identity production, cannot be separated from the space it produces. In other words, this research finds that the process of producing a congregational identity cannot be separated from a congregation’s spatial production. The author particularly draws on both Émile Durkheim’s monograph, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912), and Otto Friedrich Bollnow’s and Jürgen Hasse’s phenomenological perspective in order to unravel the unconventionality-conventionality of both Next Christian Community’s church space and members of the congregation’s vision of how a church community can be. Similar to Next Christian Community’s spatial production that challenges the conventional perception of worship spaces, the author seeks to challenge the conventional form of academic writing. Similar to Next Christian Community’s unconventional-conventional church space, the form of writing in this manuscript is both unconventional and conventional.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Sociology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Kent, Stephen (Sociology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Kent, Stephen (Sociology)
    • Ball, Allen (Art and Design)
    • Dorow, Sara (Sociology)