Exploring the Church in America: Spaces

Why are Catholic churches built the way they are? Why are they different than Protestant churches? And how has church architecture developed over time? We'll explore these questions with two of the most prominent church architects in West Michigan.

"Exploring the Church in America: Spaces” is taught by Greg Smith, Dean of LANE, and John Van Houten and Jamie Benvenuto of Progressive AE, a West Michigan architecture firm that has worked on a number of Catholic churches.

Greg Smith

For four decades, Greg has taught and traveled, written and led throughout the Christian world, over thirty of those as a Protestant. After a decade-long “Road to Rome” journey, Greg and his wife “crossed the Tiber” and joined the Roman Catholic Church in 2016. With his eclectic background, he brings a global perspective on the historic Christian faith. Currently, Greg serves as the Director of Ministries at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, teaches at the Lakeshore Academy for the New Evangelization, and is the founder of One Whirling Adventure.

John Van Houten

John is a Principal and Worship Practice Leader at Progressive AE. With nearly 30 years’ experience, John possesses an expansive knowledge-base in the field of architecture working in learning, commercial, industrial, workplace, and worship environments. He provides leadership to employees, team members, clients, and consultants at all levels to ensure projects are successful from inception through construction. John is involved through all phases of the project and prides himself on making sure the work is completed as planned, budgeted, scheduled, and in conformity with the design intent.

Jamie Benvenuto

As a design architect, Jamie brings over 10 years' experience with creative planning and programming to each client and project. She facilitates visioning processes, is passionate about the integration of multi-discipline design, and guides thinking on creating a thoughtful user experience throughout each project.