Note: This article is talking about the building. If you were searching for different meanings, please see here: Church (disambiguation).
A church is the building in which Christians gather to do several things, such as a worship service or activities within the church. Church, in Baptist and similar viewing Protestants, can also mean Parish.
The precursor to churches would be the Temple and synagogues, where Jews would preach, teach, and learn daily from Rabbi's and Priests, as well as perform certain ceremonies and holidays. Once Christianity was founded, many early Christians met in houses for worship. Churches were founded about various places, though none of them are still standing. Early churches were just buildings with an altar and a place to sit, rarely. Baptismals were implemented in the fourth century, and before then people were baptised in rivers.
While a Chapel can also refer to a smaller church, it can be used as a term to describe a place where worship services are held. "Sanctuary" is the term used in Baptist churches, and probably other churches as well. This is where Mass, worship service, and Liturgy are held.
Other Buildings Edit
Many Protestant churches will have a "Family Life Center" where they perform activities and hold gatherins that don't pertain to a worship service. Other churches will also have seperate buildings for child care, youth gatherins, and Sabbath School.
Many Catholic churches have buildings where RCIA classses are held. Some churches have a thrift store or gift shop where things may be bought. Some churches have schools attached to them. Some Catholic churches also have a monastery for Monks and Nuns to live and work in.
Pastor's House Edit
Many Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches, as well as several other ones, will have buildings where Pastors will live, as well as their families (If permitted to have them).
Almost all churches have a special place or room called a baptismal where people are Baptised. Churches that use Holy Water have it run in there for baptisms, and one that don't just have normal water.
Seating, Altar, and Stained Glass Windows Edit
Many churches have pews in which they sit, long square seats with hard cushions. Some churches, though, will use individual chairs with cushions, and others (typically new churches) will have folding chairs. The pews typically have a Hymnal, Bible, or pamphlet attached to them.
Almost all churches have an altar, a place where the Pastor stands and performs ceremonies/preaches. During the Invitation, parishioners are prompted to come over and pray at the altar.
Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic, and Orthodox churches will typically have stained glass windows depicting a Biblical event. Some other Protestants have then, though it is rare.
Church Bells Edit
Many churches have a place where bells are hung to signify the starting of a worship service or other events. More modern churches have begun to exclude them for various reasons.
The word "church" originates from the Greek word ἐκκλησία, ekklesía,which means "congregation." This eventually became a Latin term meaning "assembly." This evolved into an Olde English word, "cirice," which further evolved into churche (which was pronounced "kur-kee" at the time). Churche became church, and was pronounced with modern English.
Variations (see also) Edit
- Cethedral - A larger church where the Bishop is housed.
- Basilica - An even larger church with special meaning attached to it.
- Chapel - A very small church, though it can also refer to what is called the Sanctuary by some Protestants.