More Americans Making Room for Prayer

December 11, 2003

Source: USA Today

On December 11, 2003 USA Today reported on the increasing number of American homes that include altars or private chapels for worship. "Carving out a spiritual space in the home, whether it be a separate room or a quiet corner, is increasingly common, says Peg Streep, author of Altars Made Easy and Spiritual Gardening. Why the change? Eastern culture, which 'doesn't distinguish between the sacred and the secular,' has been a big influence, says Streep, whose own New York City apartment includes a combination indoor garden and Buddhist altar. Some religions have strictures on the rites that can be performed in the home. For example, a Roman Catholic typically would not celebrate the Eucharist at home or get married there. People are more likely to call their informal or unadorned space a prayer room — 'a simple place set aside for prayer, scripture reading, personal devotion,' says Patricia Morrison, an editor at the National Catholic Reporter, a weekly newspaper. 'In the Catholic tradition, a chapel true and proper is where some formal liturgical function takes place.' Morrison, a former nun, always has had a prayer room. Currently, she uses a bedroom in her house in Overland Park, Kan... Farid Shafik, an ophthalmologist who is in the Coptic Orthodox church, always has had a prayer space, too. 'It is incumbent in our tradition to have a place dedicated in each house to God,' he says."