The faith community of Cypress Creek Church needed a worship space that was anything but ordinary. They had a small budget, but ample skill and motivation to contribute to the design and construction of their new place of worship and fellowship. The final result was a dignified, participatory design reflective of their community values.
The home church movement dates back to biblical times and continues to thrive around the world. Gatherings of Christian believers meet in small groups, usually in private homes or small spaces for simple Bible study and singing. However, realizing that wider fellowship and sacraments are a vital part of the Christian faith, many home churches join federations where they can combine their gifts and talents to expand their musical worship, and enjoy fellowship and sacraments.
Cypress Creek Church was one such federation, a collection of “Heart Groups,” and they needed a central home. A place to come together as a community to support, encourage, and assist one another like the house churches of the New Testament. Because of their doctrinal particularities, each house church had a different approach to the sacraments, but they all needed a common space to partake in communion. Achieving this unity and diversity would yield a building unlike any other church Overland had ever encountered.
One of the main advantages that would save the congregation money was their beautiful setting in the Texas Hill Country. Overland’s layout for the building incorporated the outdoors to give the church additional square footage and enhanced the indoor atmosphere.
On Easter, when all of the Heart Groups are usually present along with many visitors, the church can double in size through the incorporation of large doors in the back of the worship space that open up to an amphitheater. On these and many pleasant Hill Country mornings, the open doors allow a relatively small space to live large, full of movement and fellowship. “It’s almost like every Sunday is a church picnic,” said Bob Shemwell, senior principal at Overland Partners.
The simple, linear daycare wing and the round communion chapel frame a courtyard full of stately oaks, and the space is flooded with daylight. Overland used native materials and landscaping to maximize the aesthetic benefit of the landscape.
Participation from the community members shaped the space to reflect the diversity of worship styles and personalities harmonizing in the church. Youth and prayer ministry, administrative needs and social functions all happen in the space, outfitted for acoustics and flexibility. A master plan will help the church continue to grow as each of these functions expands to need a room of their own. The campus of facilities is a peaceful, welcoming oasis to the neighborhood and surrounding community. In its design and execution it exhibits excellence through the wise stewardship of resources and the creation of an aesthetic which captures the spirit of the Wimberley Valley.