This is the first draft of a page intended to establish the notability of local churches. A local church may have multiple worship services in multiple locations, but if it is a local body under the same leadership, it shall be counted as one church. Nothing in these guidelines is intended to establish notability for denominations.
Some articles on churches may be written in order to promote a church. Many Wikipedians are strongly averse to the use of Wikipedia for advertising, and Wikipedia articles are not advertisements is an official policy of long standing. Advertising is either cleaned up to adhere to the neutral point of view or deleted. In the latter case, it is listed at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion. If this proposed policy becomes accepted, the guidelines listed on this page may be applied by editors in deletion debates.
Criteria for local churches
- Local churches are usually notable if the scope of activities is national or international in scale and information can be verified by a third party source.
- Individual local churches in notable denominations are not inherently notable, and do not warrant a separate article unless sufficient notability for the local church itself is established through reliable and verifiable sources.
- Churches which have verifiable historical or architectural significance are notable.
- Organizations whose activities are local in scope are usually not notable unless verifiable information from reliable third party sources can be found.
Assertion of notability
Notability can be asserted for organizations through:
- Inclusion in third party published materials.
- A significant amount of media coverage that is not trivial in nature and that deals specifically with the organization as the primary subject
- Listings of churches and services in local newspapers and community information websites is in no way evidence of notability
Assertions to be rejected
The following may be presented as evidence of notability, and should be rejected as such.
- Size. Many churches claim thousands of attendees. Therefore, size should not be considered evidence of notability, unless the size is remarkable on a national scale (for example, the largest church in the U.S.A.). Being one of the largest churches in a locality or denomination should not be regarded as notability.
- Internal documents cannot be used as an assertion of notability. However, they can be used as source material for an article.
- Internal documents can include, reports, newsletters, press releases, magazines and websites published by the church itself, or any denomination or other organisation it is part of.
General inclusion in a local article:
- Most churches and places of religious worship are notable enough for a mention on Wikipedia. In the majority of cases, it is enough to have a brief reference in the article on the area in which the church is located, as per WP:LOCAL. Notable and verifiable facts on the church (which are accurately sourced) may be included to improve the information about the local area.
- Generally, the church must be of a recognised religion or religious denomination, involving a belief in a supernatural Being, Thing or Principle; and the acceptance and observance of canons of conduct in order to give effect to that belief. The church's existence should also be verifiable by third-party materials or websites. A "church" that purportedly does not follow these criteria may not conform to established Wikipedia policy such as Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not for things made up in school one day or Wikipedia:Spam, and generally should not be included on Wikipedia, whether in a local article or its own article.
For a church to have its own article:
- Some articles on churches may be written in order to solely promote a church. Editors intending to write church articles for this purpose, while they may be acting in good faith and with good motives, should be aware that according to official Wikipedia policy, Wikipedia is not a webspace provider, and Wikipedia articles are not advertisements. Advertising will either be cleaned up to adhere to a neutral point of view or deleted. In the latter case, it is listed at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion.
- The key for a church to have its own article is that the article must establish notability of the church in some way. This is done by including verifiable and reliable sources on the church.
- Whilst the number of articles on individual churches will be small, editors should also remember that Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia and it should represent a worldwide view. These guidelines should be construed freely enough to allow, ideally, any major city to have a few individual church articles on notable churches.
- Individual congregations of notable churches should generally not have their own articles, but should be included as part of a church's main article.
Local churches should usually be considered to be notable if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- The church has been the subject of multiple non-trivial published works whose source is independent of the school itself.
- This can include:
- Inclusion in third party published materials.
- Media coverage that is non-trivial and deals specifically with the church as the primary subject of the article.
- This should not include:
- Internal documents, including reports, newsletters, press releases, magazines, newspapers and the like published or produced by the church itself, unless those works are notable in themselves (although such may be used as source material within the article itself). Materials not published by the local church itself, but by the denomination, organisation or body of which the church is a part, which establish notability in the same way that a third-party source would in discussing something of relevance to more than the local church community, should be, however, considered as a verifiable source on a case by case basis.
- A listing of churches and services in local newspapers or community information websites.
- Other works which would not meet Wikipedia's reliable source standards.
- This can include:
- The church plays a significant role in, or has contributed significantly to, the life and affairs of a country or state, and/or its government or ruler(s). This should not be dependent on a country or state having an established church.1
- The church plays a significant role in, or has contributed significantly to, its city (in the case of a metropolitan or suburban church), or its regional area (in the case of a rural church).2
- The church plays a notable or significant role within its denomination or religion. This only should apply if the denomination is notable in itself, being documented by sources external to the individual church, but internal to the denomination.
- The church is notably large for its region, and has achieved notability in non-trivial sources for this.3
- The church has, or has had, notable leaders or clergy, for whom the particular church has had a formative impact. For a church to fit into this category, the leader should be notable enough to meet WP:BIO, by non-trivial external coverage, and should have their own article. The involvement of the church in the person's life must not be trivial.4
- The church has, or has had, notable members or worshippers, for whom the particular church was formative in their work or their life. These people must also be notable under WP:BIO and should ideally have their own article, and their involvement in the church. The church's involvement in their lives should not be trivial.
- The church runs, or has run, a program, or programs, which are notable for their uniqueness, high success rate or high popularity. Such programs may include youth programs, charitable work, evangelistic programs, and music.
- The church runs or has run a notable school or college, has established some other notable churches, or runs or has run another notable enduring institution.
- The church's teachings or theology is considered unique or notably controversial. The teachings should be of the individual church, not its denomination.
- The church building has particular architectural and/or historic significance.
^Note 1 : The Washington National Cathedral and Westminster Abbey would be examples of churches fitting this criteria.
^Note 2 : Most cities' main cathedrals of recognised denominations, for example, would fit in this category; churches such as Paradise Community Church in Adelaide, Australia, (from which the Family First Party, a notable political party in Australia with representation in its state Parliament and the Federal Parliament, evolved) would also fit into this category.
^Note 3 : The size needed to be notable will be dependent on the area, and discretion should be used in discussions regarding the country and area where the church is situated. Generally, most megachurches should be notable.
^Note 4 : All Souls Church, Langham Place would be an example of this, being formative in the ministry of notable theologian John Stott.