Dr. Mark Torgerson

Worship Arts Department Chair

Dr. Torgerson teaches in the areas of Christian theology, worship, comparative religion, and religious space design. He enjoys exploring the intersection between religion and material culture, both in the United States and abroad. Historic and contemporary Christian (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant) and Jewish houses of worship are favorite destinations. Sojourns in Japan, China, Peru, Tanzania, Turkey, India, and Nepal have provided first-hand opportunities to experience Shinto, Dao, Confucian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, and indigenous holy sites. Remarkable works of art and natural features at these destinations added layers of beauty and wonder to the encounters.

Thousands of photographs have been taken. Insights into the beliefs and practices of Christianity and other religions are directed into the classroom to enliven conversations and deepen understanding.

Dr. Torgerson has written and published in the areas of theology, worship, and church design.  An Architecture of Immanence (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2007) examines the history, design, and impact of modern and contemporary churches in Europe and the United States. Concern for living as faithful stewards of the creation prompted the book Greening Spaces for Worship and Ministry: Congregations, Their Buildings, and Creation Care (Alban Institute, 2012) as a guide for Christian and Jewish congregations to pursue environmental care in community. He has also published multiple articles concerning worship, theology, and the arts in journals such as Faith and Form, Worship, SEEN (CIVA Journal), The Clergy JournalDoxology, and Reformed Liturgy and Music.  

Dr. Torgerson is also a painter, using primarily acrylic on canvas. About one half of his paintings are designed for use in worship events. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church, having served churches in Wisconsin and Connecticut. He enjoys hiking, modest mountain climbing (Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Fuji, Machu Picchu), photography, and traveling with his family and friends.

  • Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 1996
  • M.A., University of Notre Dame, 1993
  • M.Div., North Park Theological Seminary, 1988
  • B.S., California State University, Fresno, 1982

Christian worship; church architecture; visual arts in the church

“Sövik’s Housefor the People of God,” Faith and Form,Volume 51, Number 2 (2018):  22-27.

Review of Lone Star Steeples: Historic Places ofWorship in Texas by Pixie Christensen, GreatPlains Research, Volume 28, Number 1 (Spring 2018):  95.

Review of The Suburban Church:  Modernism and Community in Postwar Americaby Gretchen Buggeln, The CatholicHistorical Review, Volume 130, Number 1 (Winter 2017):  161-163.

Entries for Encyclopedia of Christianity in the UnitedStates, five-volume project.  “ChurchArchitecture” (11,400 words), “Evangelical Covenant Church” (2,100 words),“Christians in the Visual Arts” (1,200 words), “Calligraphy” (990 words),“Dance” (1,000 words), “Dillard, Annie” (770 words), “Museum of Biblical Arts”(600 words).  Lanham, MD:  Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.

Review of Liturgy as a Way of Life:  Embodying the Arts in Christian Worship byBruce Ellis Benson, Worship, Volume89, Number 1 (January 2015):  90-92.

 Greening Spaces for Worship and Ministry: Congregations, Their Buildings, and Creation Care. Herndon, VA: The Alban Institute, 2012.

“Hebrews in the Worship Life of the Church.” In Reading the Epistle to the Hebrews: A Resource for Students, eds. Eric F. Mason and Kevin B. McCruden, 269-296. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011.

“Designing for the Elusive Presence.” Faith and Form: Interfaith Journal on Religion, Art and Architecture, on-line edition, Fall 2010.

Review of God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art by Daniel A. Siedell, Worship, Volume 84, Number 1 (January 2010): 89-91.

Review of Jesus and the Emergence of Catholic Imagination: An Illustrated Journey by John Pfordresher, Worship, Volume 83, Number 2 (March 2009): 190-191.

“Community and Church Building Design: Inclusive and Exclusive Considerations,” The Clergy Journal, Volume LXXXV, Number 2 (November/December 2008): 6-8.

“Artists and Worship: Vital Presence and Risky Business,” SEEN, Journal for Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA), Volume 8, Number 2 (2008): 14-15.

An Architecture of Immanence: Architecture for Worship and Ministry in the Twentieth Century. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Study Series. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007.

Development of a monograph on Edward Anders Sövik, a Lutheran architect who designed hundreds of churches for Catholic and Protestant congregations in twenty-three states over the course of his fifty years in practice.

  • American Academy of Religion
  • North American Academy of Liturgy
  • Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies

Calvin Institute of Christian [an excellent array of resources to explore and renew worship in the church]
Christians in Theatre [a primary organization and website for those involved in theatre]
Christians in the Visual [a primary organization and website for those involved in the visual arts of all kinds] [an important journal for artists of faith to share their work and reflections; also includes links for conferences and workshops]
The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship [a study program in worship studies at the graduate level; Dr. Torgerson maintains their on-line bibliography located under the “Resources” tab in the website]
The Sacred Dance [a primary organization and website for those involved in dance]
Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological  [a primary site for those exploring theology through the arts; includes a link to their excellent journal]

*The above listed websites do not necessarily reflect the views of Judson University.