Old South Church

Boston, Massachusetts

Old South Church is one of America's oldest religious communities, founded in 1669. Today, it is a vibrant congregation dedicated to extending extravagant hospitality to all and seeking justice both locally and globally. Listed as a National Historic Landmark located in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, it is also a popular tourist destination for its stunning Gothic Revival architecture.

Our process

For this project the challenge was to design a site that honors the church's deep historical roots in Boston while also communicating their identity as a forward-thinking congregation in a modern culture.

We began by immersing ourselves in the life of the church through staff and member interviews, attendance at worship services and historical research. (By the way, if you're in the area and have never experienced a Jazz worship service, it's not to be missed!). We compiled a list of needs and requests made by the staff and congregants from which a solid site architecture was developed. Finally, extensive design studies, inspired by the church's ornate architectural patterns and rich, warm color palette were created.

Under the hood

The church staff was in need of better administrative tools, particularly for event scheduling and facilities management. We programmed customized back-end solutions which have made day-to-day operations significantly more efficient. Drupal was chosen as the content management system for its customization capabilities, ease of use and ability to designate multiple levels of users and permissions.

Why we love this site

The design, photography and copy are fully supportive of each other. With passion and persuasion, the copy expresses the mission and spirit of this church. The camera captures the beautiful faces and spaces of the church and the visual design pulls it all together.

The response

Our favorite response came from a priest of a another denomination:

"…The colors, the movement, the faces, the phrases—all of these are not just spectacular, but deeply engaging. I know nothing about building web sites…But I do know how much time it takes to produce a sermon that sings! And this is a sermon in the deepest Gospel-sharing sense of the tradition. Your site, in fact, almost persuades me to become a convert! I am particularly struck by the faces—and the clear interplay of individual and community identity that they depict."

Credits

Project management and copy writing: Jon Geldert, Old South Church, ministerial intern
Photography: Brian Phillips Photography
Design and programming: Theory One Design
Website: www.OldSouth.org
(check back in June 2012 for an updated site including new photography and designs)