Geography ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-12-2019


This paper focuses on the non-traditional Christian worship site of Mountain Cathedrals in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I argue that affectual and emotional responses are elicited from the congregants of Mountain Cathedrals through the process of sacralization. It is shown that Christian worship in a non-traditional outdoor setting affects the ways in which the congregants engage with, participate in, and create sacred space. I survey current literatures of sacred space, the contemporary Christian church, and non-traditional worships spaces. Using the literature as a backdrop, I utilize Mountain Cathedrals as a case study for understanding the ways in which sacred space is created in a non-traditional Christian worship environment. Through this research, the voice of geography is brought into conversations of sacred space. The study is centered upon the voices of the congregants and their worship experiences with Mountain Cathedrals. This in contrast to many studies that had focused on the clergy, architecture, or history of the Christian church. I utilized observation, participant observation, and semi-structured interviews to collect data and found that the sacred space of Mountain Cathedrals is sacralized via practice, shared experience, sensuous experience, and sacred fusion.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. John Carr

Second Committee Member

Dr. K. Maria D. Lane

Third Committee Member

Dr. Kathleen Holscher

Document Type





affect, emotion, religious geography, sacred space, Christianity