Rudolf Koch - Chi Rho

"The Christian Village"

Prof. Felix Just, S.J.
Dept. of Theology & Religious Studies
University of San Francisco

Rudolf Koch - Word of God

Semester Project/Paper Guidelines - Spring 2006

Purpose: To learn about the similarities and differences in how various groups of Christians worship, and to see how liturgy (how people worship) is connected to theology (what people believe). You will attend liturgical services at three different Christian denominations, compare and contrast what you experienced, process all this with your discussion group, and then write a short paper to synthesize what you observed and learned.

An old Latin saying, lex orandi, lex credendi (lit. "the law of praying is the law of believing"), implies that theology influences prayer and prayer influences theology. In other words, by seeing how various communities worship, you can also understand the similarities and differences in what they believe (and vice-versa!).

Project & Procedures:

  1. Choose three different Christian denominations, and prepare for your visits in advance:
  2. Attend the main weekend liturgical services at three different Christian denominations:
  3. Analyze each worship service, and compare and contrast the three, paying attention to the following aspects:
  4. Discuss your observations and insights with the members of your regular discussion group.

Paper: Write a short report (5-6 pages) summarizing what you observed and learned:

  1. Content: Write in standard "Essay" format (thesis statement, structured body, conclusion). Keep your intro and conclusion brief; and do not just repeat your intro at the end, but "conclude" something interesting!
  2. Format: Your paper must be the required length (5 to 6 full pages), double-spaced, typed, with 1-inch margins (not MS Windows 1¼-inch default), a compact single-spaced heading (not a separate title page), and written in standard academic English (no contractions or slang; correct grammar and spelling are crucial!)
  3. Appendix: Attach the three bulletins or worship aides you collected (do not count them for the 5-6 pages).
  4. Academic Integrity: You may discuss your work with others, but the writing must be your own. If your first language is not English and/or your writings skills are poor, you may ask someone else for help (to correct your spelling or grammar), but obviously not to write or rewrite the paper for you!
  5. REVISED DUE DATE: At the beginning of class on MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2006. See me if you have a really important reason why you can not finish until the original due date of April 12. Absolutely no papers will be accepted after that.
  6. NEW INSTRUCTION: Give the following info in your HEADING (single-spaced):

Proofread: Check your paper for the following common mistakes:

  1. Spelling: altar (vs. alter!); their/there/they're; its/it's; do not rely soley on your computer's spell-checker, which cannot catch errors like "from" vs. "form"!
  2. Capitalization: Capitalize all proper nouns and titles (Mass, Bible, Lectionary, Church [denomination or local name], Catholic, etc.), but not regular nouns (priest, pastor, church [the building], weekly liturgy, etc.)
  3. Punctuation: Do not overuse commas; but use them properly where needed, esp. in proper format for dates: "On April 4, 2006, we went..."
  4. Avoid Contractions and Slang: Write out "we are" (not "we're"), "is not" (not "isn't");
  5. Sentences: Are all your sentences complete (subject, verb, object)? Do you have any sentence fragments? Any run-on sentences?
  6. Distinctive Vocabulary: "Mass" or "Divine Liturgy" or "Sunday Worship"; "Eucharist" or "Communion Service"; "priest" vs. "pastor" vs. "minister"; etc.
  7. Christianity: Be careful not to state or imply that Catholics, Protestants, and "Christians" are separate religions! In some cases, you may need to speak of a certain church or denomination as "non-denominational Christian."

Some Terminology for Church Art, Architecture, and Furnishings:

Key Focus: “Four-fold Presence of Christ in the Liturgy”: Assembly, Presider, Word, Eucharist
Liturgical Goal: “Worship of God, with full, conscious, and active participation in the Liturgy”

Behind the Scenes:

In the SANCTUARY (considered the “front” of the church; not called a “stage”):

In the NAVE (the “body” of the church, where the congregation is; not called the “audience”):

In the BACK (near the main entrance) & OUTSIDE (the exterior of the building):

The floor plan or layout of St. Ignatius Church is a typical “Western Basilica” (basic rectangle), in contrast to Eastern Orthodox, Medieval Gothic, or a variety of Contemporary layouts.

The architectural style of St. Ignatius Church is basically “neo-classical” (lots of columns, mostly white walls with some gold trim), with elements of a few other styles mixed in.

See also Course Syllabus | Class Schedule | Discussion Groups | Study Guide: Quizzes | Study Guide: Gilles | Study Guides: Rausch

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