Services | Gerald Robinson - Liturgical Consultant

By: Gerald Robinson  09-12-2011
Keywords: Architects, church, Lighting

As a Liturgical Consultant Gerald Robinson works with individuals, building committees, congregations, architects, and contractors.

Most worship spaces present a confusion of cross-purposes. For clarity and serenity the space should be an exemplification of just one of the six ministries of the Christian Church, which are Contemplation, Pastoral Care, Witness, Dedication, Evangelism, and Justice. When the space is thus focused and distractions are eliminated the resultant calm creates a space that can be used for any of the above ministries.

Gerald is familiar with current liturgical arrangements and the way they have developed through history. To cope with new situations he has created new liturgies of his own, particularly for baptism.

Gerald's experience in dealing with the sensitive issues of re-ordering places of worship gives him insight into ways of achieving consensus with minimal disruption.

Often people feel more passionately attached to their place of worship than they do to their own homes, so any proposal for change has to be presented as a necessary embodiment of an eternal truth whose importance goes way beyond anybody's personal preference. At the same time a sentimental attachment to the old ways of doing things must be acknowledged, and if possible accommodated, treating everybody with respect, while not abandoning principle.

Although he has been a principal in an architectural firm (Robinson and Heinrichs Architects) for many years, Gerald has decided to re-shape his career to enable him to concentrate on the theological foundation for places of worship − something not taught in schools of architecture.

If a project should require that the congregation engage an architect Gerald is able to assist the congregation by preparing a brief to ensure that their wishes are incorporated into plans and specifications,  leading to a completed structure that will support their worship. This includes directions for appropriate style, ambiance, material selection, furnishings, lighting, and acoustics. Many architects have been appreciative of the clarity that results from being presented with such a brief.

Gerald's background in engineering, a doctorate from Leeds University, enables him to quantify the acoustic and lighting ambiance for a place of worship. The requirements for a church are quite different from those for a theatre, concert hall, or auditorium, because worship demands participation. The congregation is not just a passive audience. Gerald is able to predict and correct the acoustic ambiance of a space before a single brick has been laid. Although the theory has been available for a hundred years (since 1907) most churches do not avail themselves of it. Often they build in hope, and many have had unpleasant surprises.

From his early work in theatre design Gerald is able to configure lighting layouts and control systems using theatrical luminaries for effects that range from the contemplative to the dramatic. Such lighting is able to establish a mood, focus attention, and create drama.

To control such lighting he has devised simple intuitive systems that can be operated by non-technical people. Commercially available control boards, with their pre-sets, push-buttons, and flashing lights are too complicated for amateurs − if the operator does not show up we are in the dark.

Controllable lighting can add to the effectiveness of any worship space.

Keywords: acoustics, Architects, church, Lighting, Theatre

Contact Gerald Robinson

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