A courtyard surrounded by three covered walkways, the atrium is both a gathering space that celebrates and gives thanks to God for the beauty of creation, and a transitional space of preparation for worship upon entering the church, or for service in the world upon exiting the church. Just as the architecture interacts with creation in this open space, so does the visitor. No matter the time of day or climate, the visitor experiences a moment outside of time, standing and looking up and out to the expanse of creation, interacting with the natural elements of air, earth, fire, and water: the sky, the sun, the clouds, the stars, the grasses, and the bay on the horizon beyond them.
The story of creation begins with the sculpted stone lintel above the doorway, with the first two verses of Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.” Eight stone capitals on top of the columns represent the eight works of creation over the six days, portraying the divine handiwork of creation — the response to God’s repeated command, “Let there be” — and incorporating many of the images described in Psalm 104.
The story of creation culminates at the doors, with the bronze sculpted image of man and woman, Adam and Eve standing under the shade of the Tree of Life. When the doors open, Adam points to Christ in the apse, and Eve gazes at maternal welcome upon those who enter.