“Behold I come to make all things new.” – Isaiah 43:19

Chartres in France employs a digital light show to express what divinity enters the important cathedral. Chartres was an innovator in its time – by way of the flying buttresses that allow it to have large windows, through which great light comes. Chartres is becoming new. I wonder what it has to teach us about our own American beauties.

First Congregational Church in Newport Rhode Island has removed its pews and opened space for its LaFarge Windows. It will become, over time, a center for the arts.

St. Luke’s in the Field, an Episcopal Church, in Manhattan has built a low-rise luxury building on its property in order to maintain its public ministries. They have a marvelous park and garden and school.

Union Theological Seminary sold off a portion of its famous quadrangle to a luxury apartment building in order to do 150 million dollars of restoration. It will live to train a future generation. Delayed maintenance will no longer be its message.

First (Presbyterian) Church in Queens built affordable housing on its property.

The chapel at La Coste in Provence, a large outdoor art museum “marries the local and the artistic.” The chapel reverses inner and outer space by putting an ancient chapel inside a glass box.  “None of the aboves” can walk outside and be inside.


Give us, O God, great capacity to look at our buildings anew and anew and anew. Then let us look anew again and again and again. Freshen our perspectives. Amen.

ddauthordonnaschaper.jpgAbout the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.