Building a New Church

A Process Manual for Pastors and Lay Leaders
James E. Healy, STL; Foreword by Nathan D. Mitchell

ISBN: 9780814632697, 3269
Details: 152 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 08/01/2009


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The task of building a new worship space for a community is both overwhelming and sacred. It is a time of change that presents the opportunity for enrichment and catechesis. Using his experience of working with a steering committee to build a new church, Father James Healy in this volume takes a daunting task and makes it manageable. He provides engaging ideas for involving the parish community in decision making and for ensuring that the process of building a new church is a prayerful and sacred time. The result, as Healy notes, can bring surprising and fruitful rewards: "The paradox I experienced was that I had set out to have the parish build their church, and in following all these processes, the new church built the parish."

Download the appendices for Building a New Church to assist in your planning.

James E. Healy, STL, is a diocesan priest of Kansas City—St. Joseph, presently serving as pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine parish in Blue Springs, Missouri. From 1986 to 2005 he was pastor of St. Mark the Evangelist parish in Independence, Missouri, where a new church was built under his leadership.

Father James Healy has created an endearing reference that encompasses broad directions [and] specific details. . . . [T]his is a treasure of information that will definitely give you a leaping head start in knowing what is involved in balancing the entire process. . . . [W]hat a memorable and overwhelming spiritual experience.
Patti Bilyk, Architect, Overland Park, Kansas

Good liturgy relies on a good building. Good buildings rely on good advice. If you are renovating an old church or erecting a new one, here is the advice you need. James Healy shares what he learned as a pastor facing the same situation. When your project seems vague, here you will find clarity. When it seems overwhelming, here you will find encouragement. Think you can't do a good job? You can. Here's how.
Reverend Paul Turner, Pastor, St. Munchin Church, Cameron, Missouri

James Healy shepherded a remarkable building process which resulted in a 1,000 seat new church of which the congregation overwhelmingly approves and calls its own. In this manual Healy shares what we learned. You'll find everything from how to interview and select an architect to planning the dedication ceremony, receive advice on fundraising, be shown the importance of involving the laity at all stages of the project, reminded of how church design affects liturgy and worship, and much more. This is a thorough, practical guide that will benefit the pastor and layperson alike.
Larry N. Blick, Retired City Manager; Steering Committee Member, St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, Independence, Missouri

. . . A DIY instruction manual that covers the nuts and bolts of needs assessment, committee structure, fundraising, design, and construction of Catholic churches. . . . This handbook could also enlighten architects and artists with some insight into their clients' needs and expectations, and help all who collaborate on building a new church to share the same vision.
Faith & Form