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First Presbyterian Church, Edmonton, AB

December 19, 2016

One of the difficulties with the A-A phenomenon is the evolution of the term. The original use was Akron-Auditorium or Combination Plan, which meant an auditorium sanctuary (radial bowl-shaped seating focused on a pulpit in a corner or the center of one wall) and an Akron Plan Sunday School. Note that “Akron” was associated exclusively with the Sunday School; that was its origin, as a form generated specifically for the “Akron Plan” of religious education. “Plan” was the method of delivery, not the space designed to house that system. Buildings which had both features AND the movable partition allowing them to combine were called A-A, having both elements. David Murray Architect, architect for the restoration, uses “Akron Plan” in his description.

Gradually the cumbersome two-part nomenclature dropped “auditorium” and retained the “Akron” component, regardless of the presence of both components and their ability to combine. In may instances “Akron Plan” came to mean the bowl-shaped auditorium alone. At this stage of its evolution, there is a range of meaning or interpretation which makes it unlikely the original application can be restored. Such is the case with First Presbyterian Church in Edmonton, Alberta, which recently celebrated its 125th anniversary with a major restoration project. The sanctuary is clearly of the more Protestant “auditorium” type (shown here)


but it lacks the connected Sunday School space — as far as I can tell from on-line photographs — and yet the exterior evidences a major Sunday School element at the building’s rear with windows that could be interpreted as Akron Plan (shown here):



So, at best, this is an F type with an as-yet-unidentified Sunday School configuration.


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