Baptism by asphalt: how Emmanuel Episcopal handles its parking predicament.

I’ve blogged in the past—by this point, the distant past—about church parking lots, and what they indicate about religious life and the shift in denominational trends that took place during the twentieth century…trends that continue unabated in the twenty-first. I have no idea about the state of things at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in northern Virginia,

A vacant lot on the California coast: green activism or the color of money?

This article will feature an assertion I’ve made in the past, and I have ruffled feathers for it then. In all likelihood, I’ll ruffle a few more this time around. Yet I’m sticking to my guns. So here goes: far too many communities embrace the notion of urban parks as an absolute good—of parks for

Fort Ross: challenging the orthodoxy on the California coast.

Regardless of the time of year, any coastal sunset should supersede something as stubbornly human-wrought as a church steeple. After all, the ephemerality of that palette reduces the comparable permanence of an opulent beachfront home—or even a charming fishing village—to banality.Yet here, along the north-central coast of California, in rural Sonoma County, far removed from

Station Plaza: a strip mall of churches is hardly a shopper’s heaven.

I’ve spotted the storefront church numerous times in the past, both in strip malls and in conventional main streets. Rarely (if ever) have I described it with flattering words. It’s not that I harbor any hostility to the exercise of religion, nor do I feel that church plantings need to take place in conventional ecclesiastical

When steeples compete with summits.

The river-to-rail city of Cumberland, nestled between the prodigious hills that dominate western Maryland, may not be thriving, but it sure offers some charming, timeless vistas.   As is too often the case, this photo only partially captures its objective: the Cumberland skyline—a city of churches. It isn’t a big city at all, so the

When steeples compete with summits.

The river-to-rail city of Cumberland, nestled between the prodigious hills that dominate western Maryland, may not be thriving, but it sure offers some charming, timeless vistas.   As is too often the case,