About The Sanctuary
The architecture of our building is meant to reflect our core beliefs, the message found in scripture.
Camelback’s four-cross “crosslet” design, found throughout the building, depicts the spread of the Gospel to all four corners of the earth.
Designed first and foremost as a place in which our church family participates in corporate worship of God, its flattering acoustical properties have made the sanctuary a preferred performance space for many of Phoenix’s premiere musicians.
The Early Christian basilica serves as the basis for the design of the corporate worship space at Camelback. Traditionally, the basilica consists of a narthex, a longitudinally oriented rectangular nave flanked by side aisles, and a chancel. At Camelback there is a diagonal orientation of the traditional basilica elements. The narthex, therefore, is located at a corner of the building rather than at its end. The chancel occupies the opposite corner of the building, and the nave and side aisles run diagonally connecting the two.
As in the Early Christian basilica, the ceiling of the building is flat, and the roof of the central space is higher than that of the side sections. Clerestory windows are located directly beneath the ceiling of the central space to provide natural lighting for the interior. An ambulatory, which traditionally runs behind the chancel at ground level, occupies a second level overlooking the chancel.
Symbolism from both Old Testament and New Testament sources plays an important role in the worship space at Camelback. References to Solomon’s Temple are numerous. The idea of a central sanctuary surrounded by rooms derives from the design of the Temple (I Kings 6:5). Clerestory windows were features of the first Temple as well (I Kings 6:4). Many of the materials used in our building, such as quarried stone and cedar roofing, emulate those of Solomon’s Temple (I Kings 6:7,9). Our door fixtures bring to mind the Temple’s many bronze objects. The use of copper throughout our building is consistent with the use of metals used in the first Temple and is particularly site-appropriate, as Arizona is known for its copper reserves.
There are New Testament references throughout our building as well. The three tiers of the roofing structure are evocative of the Trinity, and the three concentric cylinders in the copper chandeliers signify that God is Three in One. In each of the corner windows the panes of glass number seven, an allusion to God’s perfection. The shape and number of these sections of glass are repeated on the front of the pulpit, which additionally bears the symbol of the cross.
Three banners above the chancel bear additional historic symbols of our faith: Α and Ω, representing God, the Alpha and Omega (beginning and end) of all things, surround a crosslet that depicts the spread of the Gospel to all four corners of the earth.
The Sanctuary at Camelback Bible Church also is renowned for its superb acoustics. It was designed by architect, Maurice Allen of T.M.P and Associates, in 1985 in consultation with famed acoustician, Lawrence Kirkegaard of Kirkegaard Associates, whose other projects include Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall, Chicago Symphony Center Orchestra Hall, the remodeled Carnegie Hall, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, and the hall at Rice University-Shepherd School of Music.
Outstanding professional, collegiate, and community ensembles have used the sanctuary for their professional recordings, including the Grammy Award winning Phoenix Chorale and Kansas City Chorale; Northern Arizona University’s Shrine of the Ages Choir; the Master’s College Chorale; Desert Bells International; the Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix; and Territorial Brass. In addition, the church has been fortunate to regularly host many excellent ensembles on their tours, including the Concordia College Choir; the Luther College Nordic Choir; the Dordt College Choir; the Northwestern College Choir; and the Westmont College Choir and Orchestra.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
–Revelation 22:13 ESV