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Ask the Patriarch 96
An Architecture Project

from Rob

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I am an 5th year Architecture student and I am working on my thesis project. I would like to design a "church" for agnostics. I did not know that this even existed, is there an actual place of meeting, if so what is it like? It would be very helpful if you could provide me with a list of rooms. I like the Calendar, I can and plan future events around it.

The Patriarch replies:

Rob:

This is a refreshing change from the usual requests for help in school projects. But, I'm not sure I can help to the degree you would want.

This church has been entirely virtual from its conception. It would not have existed without the internet. The financial model (no donations, thank you) guarantees that the traditional model of a bricks and mortar church, or the more recent model of a steel and glass cathedral would not have been possible. While a few of our members have met on occasion in various drinking establishments, the primary meeting place is online in the UCTAA discussion board.

I do not see this changing in the foreseeable future.

However, this does not mean that a real building cannot be considered at least as a theoretical exercise.

If there was a home church as a central focus, I would envision it as more of a resource centre with perhaps a museum, library, and archives covering religious thought in general and the evolution of Agnosticism in particular. It might have an audio-visual lab where webcasts are prepared. There would be seminar rooms for conferences, or possibly one large room, easily sub-dividable. At least one room would do double duty as a secular chapel for the celebration of marriages.

An alternative design possibility would be a chapel which could be used by one of our ministers. Our ministers are authorized to perform secular and agnostic ceremonies to celebrate life's passages, and it is possible that one or more might get successful enough in this function to want to have a dedicated building. I am unaware that anyone is close to this situation. The primary focus would be a secular chapel with, perhaps, an attached banquet room.

If you are interested in taking either approach, I do suggest you consider opening a discussion on the UCTAA discussion board and look for input from our members as to symbolism and other issues I have not addressed.

Again, this is all very theoretical, and extremely unlikely to result in real construction. But, if you do take it on, I would be interested in the results.