Talk:Church (building)

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Church (building):
  • Add citations supporting the text of the religion and etymology sections. Google Books may be a good source for references
  • Expand the architecture section using content from the linked Church architecture article.
  • Develop a history section to expand on the current Medieval Europe section.

These items are merely suggestions, and all constructive edits are welcomed!

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Untitled[edit]

This is the talk page for discussing changes to the Church (building) article.

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Ecological Churches[edit]

Do we really need an entry about such a marginal phenomenon on the main article? Theologist 23:20, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Older messages[edit]

What I miss here is a distinction between religion/belief (which can be a private matter, or at least a loosely organized one) and church life (which is by definition a social and well-organized matter). I don't know if this should be within Religion or Church or within the description of each specific religion, e.g. Christianity.

It struck me that there is no entry on Sermon or even Liturgy. Some other acts or events of church life are probably also missing. The entry on Christianity is preoccupied with various branches of the Christian church, and almost only that.

The page on Prayer starts with "Prayer is the religious act of communicating with ...". Would it make sense to create an entry on religious act? That would make it easy just to link those words already there in the Prayer article.

(BTW, isn't Church Talk the name of a Saturday Night Live sketch? :-) No, sorry, that is Church Lady, of course.)

You raise some good points, whoever you are. :-) Whether Christian religion/belief can be a private matter depends on your particular ecclesiology, or theology of the church. There many people that say it can be private, and many who say it can't. I think the Church article doesn't need to focus much on individual belief, since, well, it's about churches. Sermon and Liturgy could certainly use articles. In fact, there could easily be articles for Eastern Orthodox liturgy, Catholic Latin Rite liturgy, Catholic Eastern Rite liturgy, and others.
Do you think that the Christianity article's material on the different branches should be moved to a subtopic so it doesn't distract as much from any other material there? Wesley

mystery and morality plays were a big attraction to early churches and plays a large part of much of today's theatrical rocking evangelical churches today. theater church and drama are very much linked esp. if you've visited a high mass lately. I'm interested in hearing the relation can be so easily shunt aside...dgd

morality plays didn't show up until sometime in the Middle Ages, after the Church had been around for over 1,000 years. Yes, theatre and drama appear to play a role in some evangelical churches; haven't visited a high mass lately, so I don't know about that. But it doesn't play a role in every church everywhere, or even in most churches, especially over the last 2,000 year span. Listing them generically implies that it does. Perhaps more specific mention could be made of the role drama does play and has played historically; I just want the scope to be clearly delineated. Wesley
You seem more emotionally attached to this subject Wesley. why don't you find a way to work in the history of theater in the church. Consider as well the greek church/ theater connection as well. cheers. dgd
This is an interesting angle. It brings to my mind the roots of opera in the oratorio, and the links between oratorio and the sacred music and liturgical chant of the Mass. However, although I know mystery and morality plays were a big attraction to early Christians, I think that there is a difference there, between early Christians and early churches. Half a dozen vaguely remembered homilies come to mind, from Chrysostom and others, which put a great distance between Christian attitudes toward theater, and the Church's attitude toward it. Mkmcconn
Yes, you're right about the slant about early Christians. The idea though that keeps eating at me are the big Nativity and Easter plays that people in the Bible Belt of the United States swarm too, this is definitely Religious Drama or Religious Theater and it's taking places in large churches throughout the world. The Easter plays on google [Society > Religion and Spirituality > Christianity > Arts > Performing Arts ] is long and certainly points to the use of American churches to use entertainment as a vehicle for proselytizing (sp?) and deserves mention so as to better understand the phenomenon and origins of Religion of pre and post Puritanical america.-- User:DennisDaniels
You're onto something important, there. Even the liturgical renewal movement seems to have aesthetics and drama at the center of why traditional forms need to be recovered. From bible-belt Passion plays to [Hell House ], there is a definite tie-in with theater in modern ideas of "church". I've visited evangelical churches that have nothing recognizably churchy about them - pure entertainment (movies, football games, mime, concerts, just about anything but rites or sermons) - and it's quite intentional; and I've heard that similar things are happening in trendy Roman catholic churches although I have no experience with that. Personally, it's repugnant. But, it is fact that this is happening and, it's not a fringe phenomenon. Mkmcconn But there is no pope in a church


It is true that western theater has roots in part in ecclesiastical drama, but is it necessary to include this information in this article? A brief mention with a link to a larger article would be more useful. For what it's worth some day, real soon now, I will be working on a Medieval Drama or Medieval Theater page. David Stapleton 11:48, 13 Oct 2003 (UTC)

True. I think a lot of it is done in the name of being "seeker friendly", and "culturally relevant"; a couple of flagship evangelical churches that get mentioned a lot in connection with this are Willow Creek in Chicago and Saddleback, I think somewhere in Ohio. I forget their full names. I think it's also one product of a lot of the "church growth" sociological studies done in the last few decades. These studies examine a range of parishes and try to correlate sociological and demographic factors with the rate of church growth (or decline). When they find a correlation, they then try to duplicate that church growth by duplicating the sociological and demographic factors. You see something vaguely similar being done when the Salvation Army denomination was founded, in their use of brass bands and avoidance of baptism and communion, for generally similar reasons.

Perhaps this topic should be written up as a subsection of the Church article, both to deal with it in greater detail and also to place it in its historical context. Wesley


I removed the word 'sanctuary' from the first definition of a church, because in Eastern Orthodoxy, 'sanctuary' refers very specifically to the area behind the iconostasis around the altar, and not to the entire building. I'd rather keep the definitions in the beginning as simple and general as possible, rather than discuss the many nuances and usages in different Christian traditions. Is that alright with everyone? Wesley



I'd love to write a little piece on Religious Drama to cover some of this, but a) it will have to be from the Christian viewpoint only and b) I won't get time to add much to it for a week or two. Have to look out some reference books. I'll add some stubs. DJ Clayworth 15:24, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)


To those who care, I changed "Used by those in Christendom" to "Used in Christian theology" in the introduction because the word Christendom traditionally caries with it a connotation of being those regions where the Christian religion holds secular power as well as spiritual influence, and the word Church is used in this sense in pretty much all of Christian theology, not merely by those who live in what remains of what once was Christendom. Shimmin 04:02, 27 Aug 2003 (UTC)


Removed: "Church" is the Latin word for "congregation" or "assembly." This is a false claim; in fact, the word "church" comes to English and other languages ultimately from the Greek kriakon doma meaning "house of the Lord" according to the American Heritage Dictionary.


Any support for the following statement, either reference or example of a fertility god whose temple used a spire or spires? Another common feature is the spire, taken from the model of ancient temples of fertility gods and goddesses. Wesley 16:11, 17 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Church Spires[edit]

Another common feature is the spire, taken from the model of ancient temples of fertility gods and goddesses.

I do not think that this statement can be supported. Early christian basillicas such as Old St. Peters and Santa Constanza, both in Rome and Sant' Apollinaire in Classe, in Ravenna do not have spires. Towers did not begin to apear until hundreds of years later. The tradition of the "Westwork" began in the 9th century, and became firmly established in the Romanesque and Gothic period. The spire over the crossing is mostly an English Gothic thing. By these late dates there were no "ancient temples of fertility gods and goddesses" around to serve as models.

I am deleting the clause beginning with "taken". David Stapleton 11:09, 13 Oct 2003 (UTC)

bless store[edit]

you can add my book store look in heisrisen.spreadtheword.com


This article quotes the christian bible as history? JesusCantSave


Actually, whether you believe that Jesus can save or no, the Bible is a historical document and is supported by several other historical documents. Ancient Near Eastern literature from many different nations is helpful in determining the truth of history.

Caption needs work[edit]

The caption of the illustration needs attention. If a church can be a Christian building of worship then it also can not be a Christian building of worship. Moriori 07:50, Mar 4, 2004 (UTC)

What should be at [[Church]]?[edit]

I think we should distinguish between several topics here:

  • Church buildings.
  • How the word "church" is used.
  • The theological concept of the Church in various branches of Christianity

I don't think we should tackle all of this in one article. My suggestions would be:

  1. Making church a disambiguation page, and having church (theology), church (building), etc.
  2. Making church about church buildings, and having a link at the top to church (disambiguation)

— Matt 14:45, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps Church_(body) for the body of believers, a very common expression that people would reasonably have a category for in their minds; and Church_(building) referring to the constructed architectural edifice. Church as theology is not so critical to start at this point because various entries cover it. Trc | [msg] 14:51, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Ah, yes; Ecclesiology in particular. — Matt 14:57, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Your disambig idea is a good one; I didn't mean to counter it. I didn't see what you were doing. Cheers. Trc | [msg] 15:02, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I've taken out the "Alternative meanings" section again; is that OK? It's probably reasonable to have the buildings as the primary article since that's (arguably) the primary meaning in general usage. — Matt 15:10, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I don't object but keep in mind that the term "church" receives vastly more use as a theological construct (body of believers) than it does as an architectural term. Most people, perhaps, use it only as the former, but in theological documents the word "church" almost always is the body of believers, which different ecclesial communions define differently. Trc | [msg] 15:20, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

"Church" does have several ambiguous meanings, which should be represented somehow. It is not clear to me that most uses of the word "church" are referring to buildings. People of my acquaintance frequently "go to church" (that is, attend services) in buildings which are not church-buildings, such as school auditoriums. Many churches (parishes; local bodies of worshippers) do not have churches (buildings). Some churches (religions) do not build churches (buildings) at all.

I therefore agree with the view that church should be a disambiguation page. It might direct readers to pages such as religious denomination, Christendom, ecclesia, places of worship, Christian religious architecture, etc. The last of these might be a good place to put the current architecturally-related material. It is an encyclopedic title, and might inspire other articles on religious architecture in other religions.

It is a virtue for Wikipedia to place articles under the most common word for them -- for instance, the article on Christianity is called Christianity, not (say) "Jesusism". :) However, when a given word is the most common word for two or more ideas, disambiguation pages are necessary. --FOo 15:55, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Hmm, I think I agree, on reflection. You note the additional meaning of "Church" as in "Church service", a religious congregational ceremony. We should probably disambiguate these out, and not assume that people are looking primarily for information about buildings. I'd prefer Church (building) to Christian religious architecture, since the latter includes Abbeys, and Cathedrals and the like. — Matt 16:04, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Removed a redirect from Ecclesiastical, since ecclesiasticsal surely doesn't mean to adress the Church as a building.

and made Ecclesiastical a stub. Also just my opinion: I think that Church should point to the disambiguation page, and that we are certainly lacking the entry on church as a body of worshippers. It Is only slightly mentioned in the disambiguation page. --Frosty 17:19, 16 Jun 2004 (UTC)


Reading the above I have to agree with it. We don't seem to have an article that talks about church' as the body of believers. Not that I actually think there is very much to say about it, other than statement of facts and maybe how the word came to be transferred from people to buildings. It would seem more logical to put the discussion in a paragraph here than make a new article. DJ Clayworth 15:08, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Things that could be said about "Church as the body of believers": discuss "Church militant" vs. "Church triumphant", who does and does not use that distinction; discuss the notion of an invisible "universal" church versus church as a specific, visible, identifiable body of believers; maybe add a bit about various symbolism and imagery commonly applied to the Church in this sense, such as Body of Christ, vine, Bride of Christ, and even the old woman in the Shepherd of Hermas. Wesley 16:58, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Matt Crypto's suggestions [oops, I meant his first suggestion]. And as long as we're listing meanings of "church", here are all I can think of (FWIW):

  1. A local community of Christians who meet together regularly, often having clear standards or rituals for membership ("I belong to this church."
  2. The primary regular, usually weekly, meeting of such a group ("I'm going to church.")
  3. The legal/corporate/organizational structure of such a group ("The church has title to 3 acres.")
  4. A Christian denomination ("My church has local congregations in 20 cities.")
  5. All followers of Jesus, worldwide ("The invisible church includes people in every nation.")
  6. All Christians (or just those of a particular denomination) living in or near a particular city ("The Pope is theoretically just the bishop of the church in Rome.")
  7. The leadership hierarchy of a Christian denomination, esp. of the Roman Catholic Church ("The church has repressed the laity for centuries.")
  8. Clergy work, as a profession ("The younger sons inherited no land, and so found other professions; the second went to the army, the third, to the church.")
  9. A building whose primary use is as a meeting place for a Christian congregation ("My church is on 3rd Street.")

And, by the way, many people (including myself) cringe at that last definition. I think this fact is something worth noting in some forthcoming article. But I also acknowledge the reality that an awful lot of people tend to use the word "church" primarily to refer to a building. — Nowhither 09:26, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

And let's not forget that "church" is used by some non-Christian groups as well, such as the Church of Scientology and the Church of All Worlds, to refer to religious organizations (although not, usually, to buildings or local branches -- a Scientology branch is an org or mission, as I understand it). --FOo 14:11, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
Yup. And Thomas Paine, in "The Age of Reason" wrote "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church ...." although I think we can agree that his usage is unusual. — Nowhither 21:01, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Terminology[edit]

Some interesting bit of trivia: "traditional" French protestant churches (i.e. those installed early on, as opposed to Christian denominations imported in the 19th or 20th centuries from the United States) call their places of worship "temple", not churches; I think that the idea was to distinguish themselves from the Roman Catholic Church. Similarly, they don't say messe (mass), but office. David.Monniaux 16:19, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Careful, Editors[edit]

Editors beware! Editing a few words will offend some religions. Keep it careful.

I may be off base here, but I believe a 10th point should be listed. My terminology is not up to par, but every building, espcially old churches develope a life of their own. A building is just architecture until it is used. And the way that the architecture interacts with its outside surrounding; with the 'kirk' (Protestant def. for people making up the church); the moods of the pope, and the responses from both clerical leaders as well as the people attending; what was going on within the immediate vacinity geographcally vs. further away, etc. All of these component and more make up the life or spirit a church. And are vitally important when researching a church. Unfortunately, (or maybe Thankfully) some church buildings have faced much tougher situations than others. When you walk in to an old church, you can sence the life or spritit it has lived. A building or church means nothing without including the role it played.71.149.148.227 07:24, 17 February 2006 (UTC)User:lillyshaa1008


Church = people, not building[edit]

A church is not a building, but a group of people. Churches meet in a range of buildings (and outside of buildings) including schools, pubs, etc. The definition of a church as a building excludes churches which don't own buildings - yet they are as much churches as any other. There are other words to describe a building that is set aside for a church to meet in (chapel, cathedral, tabernacle, sancturary) - but to describe "church" as a building rather than a congregation of people is not correct. Waggers 10:22, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly agree with this. The primary meaning - either etymologically or theologically - is an assembly of people, not a structure. Wikipedia appears somewhat ignorant by touting this definition as primary. Slac speak up! 11:00, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Definately POV, Waggers.

But that's why the article is called Church (building). You can't deny that Church is used as a synonym for chapel or cathedral. Richardprins (talk) 16:48, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Large removal from intro[edit]

I removed this section from the intro:

The word "church" in the world today, as the world knows it and in the way that is was made popular on earth, started with Jesus. He first used the word as recorded in the Bible in the book of Matthew, 16:18. At this time it was not common to use the word in any religious context, there was no "religious" church without this man "Jesus". Whether he wanted to use it in such a context is highly debatable.

The first mention of the word "church" in this context was: Matt 16:18 "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

It was not common to use this term in this way because it was a political term. The "assembly, congregation, council" that the word "ecclesia", "ekklesia" and "chuch" refer to and come is from the concept of a team that is working together to resolve a problem faced by the wider community/society.

A reasonable way to interpret what Jesus was talking about is in the context of the word "Christ". This was the being that Peter found Jesus to be, the one that an entire nation was waiting for. This has to do with one who will come to save "Israel", the nation of God.

The term church means the ecclesia, assembly, congregation and council of God. A logical extrapolation is the senate/congress or team of God. This team in the context implied by the man Jesus is one that works to bring solutions to problems on earth.

This explanation is influenced by the teachings of Noel Woodroffe and interpreted by the writer.

For these reasons:

  • the disambiguation at the top says this article is about church as a religious building, so discussions of definitions of the word are out of place.
  • started with Jesus. Church is an English word, Jesus didn't use it.
  • Most of the rest is one editors inpretations and as such is unverifiable.

01:03, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Cleanup needed[edit]

I added the cleanup tag. Even though I'm an atheist I like churches (mainly as I'm a fan of pipe organs which is why I'm at the church article anyway). That aside you must admit this article really is a bit messy with dangling format tags, odd use of bold, weird section headings like In the first century. Ttiotsw 09:09, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

A section on the early church and where they met is needed. From the Bible there are countless times in the New Testament that refers to the church (the people) meeting in homes. Even better would be to divide church and church buildings into two separate articles as church and church buildings are not the same thing at all.

etymology[edit]

  • Who wrote the etymology section? The word church is completely unrelated to Greek ekklesia. It is "from Middle English chirche, from Old English cirice, ultimately from Medieval Greek kuraikon, from Late Greek kuriakon (doma), the Lord's (house), neuter of Greek kuriakos, of the lord, from kurios, lord [1]. I would change it myself, but I don't want to take the time to do it if someone is going to revert it. Did it not occur to the author that church sounds nothing like ekklesia or was he/she deliberately misrepresenting?--Hraefen Talk 22:28, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Agreed - the etymology is now fixed. - THE GREAT GAVINI {T-C} 07:12, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Cool. I added the Spanish iglesia for our Spanish-speaking friends.--Hraefen Talk 15:16, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

This article is terrible![edit]

I'll work on it a bit. --JW1805 (Talk) 04:33, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

I moved the word origin section to Church (disambiguation). It doesn't really make sense to put it hear since it also applies to the other uses of the term. --JW1805 (Talk) 23:34, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

I removed the word origin section from both articles. Reasons listed in edit summary: poorly written, reference is unreliable, and the main thesis of the section is patently false (see above discussion on the etymology). Simões (talk/contribs) 17:29, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree, this is a horrible article. I will spend some time thinking about it, but my first idea is that there ought to be useful information here about the current popular use of the word "church". Regarding what a church is, I know it's a congregation of people, but there should also be some reference to the popular use of the word which now means both "the building where the church meets" and "the service which the church holds" (as in the phrase "I'm going to church," (meaning "I'm going to a church service", or in the phrase "the concert will be held at such-&-such a church" (meaning the building where such-&-such a congregation meets).J Lorraine 03:21, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Church as a building[edit]

There are a number of definitions of the term church - whatever the original or proper definition, one of the main definitions refers to churches as buildings. Please do not remove that definition from this page without consideration of where else to put that definition. Thanks. -- zzuuzz (talk) 23:50, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Church as a building[edit]

Thank you for that good idea Zzuuzz... I placed the article at "Church Buildings". The pictures etc. would also be quite relevant there.

psalmuelPsalmuel

It was an invitation for discussion not a call to arms. Please think through page moves a bit more carefully, and read up on naming conventions, before moving pages. Now, where shall we have this discussion on the new page names - before you make any other unilateral changes? -- zzuuzz (talk) 00:10, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Churhes built pn Pagan holy places?[edit]

Is it true that throughout Europe and the foundation of Christianity, many churches were built on sacred pagan holy grounds? I have read this before but now cannot find anything. Any help that you could offer wouldf be greatlyl appreciated. Also, do you think it would be a good edition for the article if good information can be found? Robert C Prenic 10:21, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Church is often used by non-Christians as well[edit]

It should be noted that Unitarian Universalists often refer to their places of worship as churches. This is because UU as a religion grow out of Christianity. Also a UU will often refer to going to their local congregations Sunday worship service as "going to church". I understand that the church article will manly focus on Christianity but it would be good if a way could be found to include such info within the church article. Also it would give the reader a more fuller understanding if the subject. --Devin Murphy (talk) 04:37, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Types of Church[edit]

Any more types of church? how about a normal village church with a small porch, a large seating area and a choir area?94.1.6.78 (talk) 14:39, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Meaning and Etymology of "church"/problems in article related to this topic[edit]

I can see from sections above that this topic has been discussed often in the past. The article, as it is now, has problems in this area. First we must decide how much information should be included about the actual word on this page. If you take a look at the disamb page for church, you will find that there are many church articles. The information in the lead paragraph and the Etymology section both have errors. There are also no inline references or entries about this topic in the bibliography.

A quick look at results from a google search (origin of word 'church') gave me the following information. The original term used in the Greek bible, ekklesia, meant an assembly of people but this was translated into the word church by most translators. There were translators who correctly used the term congregation. As far as I can determine this never referred to the place were they congregated, at least not in the Greek usage. The article states that it did. The word church did come from the ancient Greek term, kuriakê oikia which meant lord's house. This term pre-dates Christianity and was used to refer to places for worship of pagan gods. Of course, our word church refers to both these and more. If you have references that say different, let us know. Two sites have easy to find info that included the facts I stated above [2] and [3], maybe not the best references available.

IMO, the intro to the article should only mention the definition this article is using. There should be a reference and link to the disamb page just after the title. When this is in place, readers will know there is more than one meaning. Any other information about this should be in the etymology section. Because this is listed as one of today's articles for improvement, I hope to see some feedback from other editors soon. For now I plan to edit the lead paragraph only. Probing Mind (talk) 19:49, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

I have removed the following information from the lead paragraph:

A church is, technically, a term for a gathering of citizens in a town (origins from ancient Greek), but is commonly understood by the Christian adoption of the word as gathering of Christians in a building or structure to facilitate worship and the meeting of its members, specifically in Christianity. Originally, Jewish Christians met in synagogues, such as the Cenacle, and in one another's homes, known as house churches. As Christianity grew and became more accepted by governments, notably with the Edict of Milan, rooms and, eventually, entire buildings were set aside for the explicit purpose of Christian worship, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

I am putting it here to preserve it in case we decide some belongs in certain parts of the article. Probing Mind (talk) 20:21, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Disamb link needed?[edit]

This page doesn't strictly need the link because it has a unique name. There are many uses of church as the disamb page shows. I think they would get lost in the see also section. If a reader thinks this article covers all aspects of church, they could be confused about where to go next. Maybe this is the wrong way to handle it. If you know of a better way or this type of use of the link is against guidelines, please change it.

Also, I might mention that much of the info in the Religion section properly belongs in one of the other articles, like Christian Church. Whether any should be here is a matter for discussion. Probing Mind (talk) 20:58, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm curious as to what you are asking here. Are you saying you think we shouldn't have the link to the dab page at the top? If so, I disagree. I actually think we should use a template that links to Local church and to churchRyan Vesey 00:20, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
I added the link but I only know the basics about the use of dab pages. I have noticed that most articles with a discriminator in parentheses don't have dab links. At least of the many I checked using random page. So, I was noting that I didn't think it was strictly needed, but I thought it was useful. Sorry I wasn't clear. I used the About template for the link. You think we should link to the two church topics. Which template do you suggest? You can just add it, if you want, and I will watch what you do. Thanks for inquiring. Probing Mind (talk) 21:31, 20 April 2013 (UTC)