By T Nicholls

Why is a church of value to a believer?
Learning Objectives: • About the features of a Church and their purpose • Why a church is of value to a Christian
The features found in a church express key beliefs. There are different types of Christians- denominations. Their churches will differ to reflect their different beliefs! You will find out about the „Catholic Church‟

Churches were built upon raised ground, placed on a Pre-Christian, Pagan site. This is a tradition within Christianity of absorb ancient traditions and not to destroy them. It also helps against flooding.

What is needed for a building to be officially called a church?

Churches are often placed at the far Northern side of the grounds to allow for Porch more burials to the South. Why is this?

Gargoyles Bell Tower


The wall marks out the boundary of the church. Within these walls Criminals could not be arrested. Lychgate

Click on the different areas and objects in the church for more information All churches are built on a East/West alignment and usually in the shape of a crucifix Vestry Rood Screen Sanctuary Tabernacle



Font Nave Paschal Candle Altar Rail Altar


Lectern Pricket Stand



Lady Chapel

Stained Glass Windows

LYCHGA TE Lychgates are a small shelter
over the entrance to the church grounds. The word Lych comes from the old English word “Lic” meaning Corpse.

It is a place where Pall-Bearers would keep the coffin until they went in for a funeral. The bearers and the coffin would rest on the small stone seats built into the side walls. This is because the Priest would come to the gate to accept the burial certificate before entrance to the grounds was allowed.

The path to the church is long so as to allow Gravestones are aligned to the East so they are people time to reflect upon the dead. The facing in the direction of the Lord Jesus‟ return. It Southern and the Eastern side of the also follows in the Jewish tradition of facing the grounds are the most sought after sites for direction of which the Messiah will come and they burials. The Northern side of the church is will rise from the dead and enter the kingdom of reserved for Suicides, Criminals and UnHeaven. Baptised children.

The door to the church has particular association with Jesus‟ words: „I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.‟ (Revelations 3:20), and „Ask and it will be given to you seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.‟ (Luke 11:9). Most sculptures over or around church doorways are connected with Jesus: Jesus sitting in majesty, a Virgin and child, a Lamb of God, a Crucifixion.

Church doors are large and often have images or carvings of the life of Jesus. The large door handles demonstrate the strength of Sanctuary

5 clicks

The word Gargoyle comes from the Latin word Gurgulio, meaning throat, a meaning shared with the word Gargle.

They are shaped like Demons to scare away the Devil. They were placed on churches before the invention of drainpipes to clear water off the roof.

The Bell Tower
The Bell Tower contains the bell which is rang to let people know it is time for worship. Throughout history the bell has had many uses, from warning of fire or a major meeting, or in WWII as a air raid warning bell.
On top of the tower there is usually a cross but sometimes there may even be a weather vane. As the church used to be the tallest building in the village or town, people looked to the top of the tower to see which direction the wind was blowing.

The Font
The Font is used for Baptisms, it is placed at the start of the central aisle, as this marks the beginning of the Christian‟s journey through life to God.
The font can either be round to represent the never ending circle of life and the afterlife or octagonal (8 sided) in shape, 7 sides to represent the days of creation and the 8th side to represent the days spent in the afterlife.

Over the font is placed a decorated lid to keep the holy water, which is placed into the font at Easter, protected from dirt and dust. Today, however, the lid is used to keep the font clean and the water is blessed on the day.

The Stoup
The entrance contains a stoup, which is a small bowl that contains blessed water, for the congregation to use to make the sign of the cross.

This follows the Jewish tradition of ritual washing before entering the temple, where they would wash their hands and faces and sometimes even their feet.

Pews were only put into churches after the reformation of the church in 1535, when Henry VIII set up the Church of England, as sermons were very long and people needed to rest their weary legs. Before this people had to stand or sit on little stone seats built into columns.

The Nave
The Nave is the central walkway down the church and not as most people call the Aisle. There are two aisle in the church at the north and south sides of the church. The Nave is the main body of the church where the congregation takes part in the service. The word Nave comes from the Latin word Navis, meaning ship. It is also the root of the English word Navigation, this creates a link between the idea that the church is a ship and that the congregation are passengers, showing that priests and people travel towards God.

The Rood Screen
Arched doorway (Please click)

The rood screen acts as a divide between the main church and the Chancel. The word Rood is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning Cross. It can be topped by a cross and have a statue of the Virgin Mary & St. John. They were originally built to keep people out of the chancel.

The Pulpit
Pulpits are where sermons are delivered to the congregation and appeared in western churches in the 14th century.

The Lectern
Lecterns are placed near the divide between the chancel and the nave. During services the Bible is placed on it. They are usually in the shape of an Eagle. The eagle flies close to God and carries the word of God to Earth.

Votive Candles
Votive candles are placed on a pricket stand and they are lit either in remembrance of a loved one or as a personal prayer.

The Chancel is the part of the church where the Choir and the Cleric sit. On special days Lords, Ladies or even Bishops sit in the Chancel, to keep them separate from the commoners.

The Altar rail is where the congregation come to receive, bread and wine, which is known as holy communion.

The Altar
The Altar is the Holy Heart of the church. Altars have been used to sacrifice lambs to God for centuries but Christians believe that Jesus acted as the sacrificial lamb in his crucifixion and death. They also are used to remember the last supper where Jesus shared last meal with his disciples and they shared bread and wine. At different times of the year they have a different coloured cloth placed over them. The Altar is blessed by the Bishop and has 5 crosses carved into it to show this has been done. If the crosses are removed the Altar can no longer be used.

The Tabernacle is a box placed at the top of the church in the sanctuary in which the bread for the Eucharist is stored, representing the meeting with God in the church. Guarding the Tabernacle Symbols on the Tabernacle

The Church is a symbol of heaven so ceilings and domes of churches are painted with Astral images, such as stars, Angels or Jesus sitting in Majesty. This is to symbolise that the whole world is contained in the walls of the church.

The Dome represents Heaven and Jesus‟ descent to Earth. Earth is signified by the square or cube shape the dome is built onto. This is to represent Earth as a solid unmovable object/shape.

Stained Glass Windows are used to display images or an event in life of Jesus and Saints. The East end of the church displays pictures of hope, whereas the West end windows have images of doom, such as the last judgement. Latin for west is Occidere meaning to Kill.

Triumphal Arches
Couples are married under the arch in the Rood screen. Arches designed to look like either hands clasped together in prayer or arms thrown up in worship of God. Triumphal arches act as a sign of victory and are built to celebrate the winning of great battles these are usually built separately from the church and some examples of these types of arches are; The Arc de Triumph in Paris Marble Arch in London Constantine's Gate in Rome

The Lady Chapel is a small chapel on the right hand side of the church. It is used for small services through the week. Originally they were paid for by the rich as a special place for them to come and pray and were private chapels.

The Vestry
A small room to the side of the church where the Priests Vestments (clothing worn in church) are kept. The priest and the choir use this room to change from their normal clothing into their Garbs.

The Virgin Mary

Saint John

Paschal Candle
A paschal candle is a single tall, thick candle that is lit on Easter day, and burns each Sunday of the Easter season. It is a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus (The Light of Hope). All candles lit in church on Easter day are lit from the Paschal candle to represent the spreading of light around the world from the one source, Jesus Christ.

What makes a building a church?
The building must be blessed by the Bishop and have small crosses placed on the wall on each of the 4 sides of the church. If the building ceases to be a church then the crosses are removed, along with the altar and the other furniture.

During the time of the reformation when Catholics had to pray in secret, Priests used to carry miniature Bibles and Communion chalices around with them. You will notice the roof tile has small crosses carved into the centre and each corner this acts as an miniature Altar and could be easily hidden in the roof after the service is over.

The Pelican
The Pelican represents the Eucharist and stands guard over the Tabernacle. This is because when food is scarce, female Pelicans will pierce their own chests to feed her young her life's blood, just as Jesus offered his blood through death to save the souls of mankind.

Symbols on the Tabernacle
The Chi Rho symbol uses the Greek letters for X and P, and comes from the word XPICTOC meaning Christ.

These symbols show the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, as Jesus in Revelations 22:13 describes himself as; “The Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Other Symbols

Icthus or Fish

The Fish is an ancient symbol of Jesus and Christianity, it is used because Jesus told his disciples to become fishers of men. The Greek word for fish is Iicthus and is an acronym for the words; Iesous Christos Theou Huios Soter (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour)

The Sanctuary
The Sanctuary is the only part of the church where only the Priest is allowed to enter the Tabernacle is stored here.

Cross Carving

• Suicide victims, Criminals and un-baptised children, are buried in the cold Northern part of the churchyard. • The South side of the churchyard is regarded as the good side and it is the warmest side of the church. • The East side is the most sought after area in a churchyard as it is the direction Jesus will come from when he returns to Earth during the Apocalypse (which means a revealing of truth).

The Green Man
The Green Man is another attempt to absorb Pagan rituals into Christianity and represents the ever lasting life, which is waiting for you after death and is a reminder that God renews life in spring with the return of greenery and flowers.

• Which two features of a Church do you think are most the important? • Give reasons for your choices.

The End

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