We offer great thanks and gratitude to John Cawood, a co-founder of the Church and the designer of our building. Some of John’s thoughts behind the design are:
This building is more than shelter for the body; it is a temple for the spirit, a place of sanctuary to rediscover the truth, symmetry and beauty of our God-centred being.
God is at the CENTRE.
From this centre, the spirit of our congregation flows out to the world. All is one with the eternal and with the infinite. The CENTRE has become the CIRCLE. The CENTRE represents the all-embracing power of the eternal spirit.
Prepare to Enter the Sanctuary
Commit Yourself to Silence.
Abandon Your Thoughts to Feelings.
Enter into Your Awareness…
Of the Indwelling Presence…
At Your Centre…
At the Centre of the Sanctuary.
The CENTRE expands and expands to embrace and include more and more until the eternal CIRCLE overtakes and includes the CROSS. Here the spirit (represented by the CIRCLE) embraces the body (represented by the CROSS). Our sanctuary is expressed in the form of the CROSS within the CIRCLE. This is our place of reconciliation and transcendence. The spirit within the body, the body within the spirit made one with God at the CENTRE.
Truth, with God, lies at the CENTRE, of all experience. All experience feeds into the CENTRE, just as the spokes of a wheel feed into the hub. Here at the very centre, all direction and movement cease. Truth is all inclusive: God is absolute.
The roof of our building is in the triangular form of the tent. The tent symbolizies our faith in the protective presence of God which we carry with us on our journey. The horizontal base of the triangle is our dualistic consciousness; the vertical thrust is our transcendent consciousness. The individuality of man reaches up from all sides to be united at the peak – God the CENTRE. And the all-inclusive presence of God reaches down to embrace mankind at the horizontal level of the floor.
Windows set high in the sanctuary raise our vision to the light that fills the church by day. The same windows carry the light of the church out into the world by night.
The triangular skylight set in the roof is symbolic of God’s blessing on our church. It is also there to bring light to the memory of Miss Marion Bruce Ewart whose generous founding gift of land and money was instrumental in making the building a reality.
When You Enter the Sanctuary:
Hold this image when entering the Sanctuary. It is the metaphor which places meaning on the structural design of the space which you enter, and which embraces you, and holds you as one in the congregation of many spokes:
Enter with a quiet reverence and a held intention to feel the power generated within the walls of the Sanctuary. It is a powerful space for those who find resonance within it. We are reconciled one to another by acts of kindness; by the empathy, the compassion, the forgiveness, the respect and love we offer to others; by the laughter that draws us together; and in the Reverence we express for Life. Only then can we follow the imaginary line of Spiritual Transcendence drawn from the centre of the Sanctuary to the peak of the rafted ceiling overhead.
Light is brought into the Sanctuary, the inner Sanctuary of the Soul, not through windows looking out onto the world; but is brought in from the sky ‘above’. This represents Spiritual Enlightenment from Above, rather than ‘street-smarts’ from below.
Source: The Church Building as Metaphor in Structure by John Clinton Cawood. (Article found in “Special Review of our Church History – 20th Birthday”).