Church of the Good Shepherd


In the port of Caesarea, a shipwreck (300 A.D.) whose treasure hoard included coins, statues, jewels, pottery, and a signet ring of gold and emerald bearing a Good Shepherd crest.  Aesthetically Minoan, a low booted, short tunicked Christ carries upon his shoulders a lamb.  This precious little ring is among our earliest Christ of the Good Shepherd images.  “Why a shepherd,” you might ask.  We learn from John (youngest of the Apostles, seated at Christ’s right hand) that Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.  A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep,” as he did. *

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Church of the Good Shepherd simple dimensions

Church of the Good Shepherd, 2011 design A dimensions.

This Church of the Good Shepherd recalls Eastern Orthodox and Western Latin traditions.  The church’s footprint is a Latin Cross, the façade is a Byzantine arch, the window is a Gothic abstraction representing the triune God, above, three crosses, below, the congregation.  You might notice the geometrically ideal, verdantly natural engaged Aeolian columns (an Order of my invention), and you might recall Aeolian precedents from the Levant, id est, the Holy Land.

The footprint allows both the Traditional Latin and the Novus Ordo rites.  Congregant views are unobstructed.  All that is necessary to worship is found in this simplest of designs: baptismal font, vestry, confessional, Marian chapel, water-closet.  The chancel is humble, the sacristy is nobly beautiful.  Upon the nave walls are Stations of the Cross.  Upon the sacristy walls, architectural tracery that will welcome devotional pictuary, and space sufficient for Holy Family statuary, the Cross, the tabernacle, throne, and other necessities of sacrifice and service.

Above, a choir with space adequate to an organ and vocalists.  In all, this church comfortably seats 100 children and adults.  Extravagances might include rib vault tracery (lightly applied), a blue-sky ceiling with gold or silver stars, fine frescoes of saints in episodes boldly drawn, patron saints in back-painted glass both in the façade and in the window punctuations of the sanctuary.

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Church of the Good Shepherd, plan, footprint

Church of the Good Shepherd, 2011 Campus Plan. M. Curtis, des.


Variations of this Church of the Good Shepherd include an Orthodox dome with lantern (a Dome of Heaven for mosaic or pictuary, and a lantern for light).  A choir over the narthex (allowing the south transept to become a crying space [for babies]).  A cast-stone envelope will create a simplified Classive, Romanesque texture, will allow a slightly larger interior space that will grant seating to 160, and will provide additional space for choir, water-closets, nave, sacristy, et cetera.

The ground-plan of this simple Church of the Good Shepherd design offers a rectory with a large room suitable to public gathering and to private rooms appropriate for three priests.  Opposite, a little school capable of adaptation.  Here, a classroom, hall, kitchen, and offices.  Each building would be compatible with the others, either a Classive of the Aeolian Order, or a heavier Romanesque with characteristics of the Byzantine.  Current estimates (2023) of the church’s steel shell averages $(waiting on a quote from Armstrong Steel) per square foot.  If block or wood or stone encased, costs would vary by region.  And then, the interior work might be completed over decades, as devotion and ability allow.

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Church of the Good Shepherd, stations

Church of the Good Shepherd, Stations of the Cross, frame. M. Curtis, des.

Choir, 128sf; Sacristy, 256sf (over-and-under); Sanctuary and Chancel, 408sf; Nave, 970sf; Narthex and Baptistry, 246sf; plus stairs, etc., 2,188 total square feet.  Rectory as shown, 2,450 total square feet.  Church of the Good Shepherd Community Hall, 2,380 total square feet (4,760 total square feet if two floors).  There is an 8,900 square foot open-space for gathering and events.  Parking is intended behind the church.  And then, the church precinct is intended to face the community, each façade to be simply beautiful, a good example for neighboring houses.  Yes, a Classive statue of The Good Shepherd is intended for the steps below the church.



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Church of the Good Shepherd, niche D

Church of the Good Shepherd statue niche. M. Curtis des.

* Gospel of John 10:11-18

I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.

I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.



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Church of the Good Shepherd elevation 2

Church of the Good Shepherd, elevation option.


For more on the Houses of God, see “American Sacred Architecture”  and “Catholic Church Architecture”.

Church of the Good Shepherd

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