What do you think about when you hear the word ‘church’? You might think of a big building which gets used on a Sunday. You might think of several buildings, some older ones which are named after saints, and some more modern, labelled ‘Baptist’ or ‘Methodist’. If you go to church, you might think about the people you meet there – the church community or family.
The word ‘church’ has a few meanings. On the one hand, it is the name of a building which Christians attend to worship God, learn more about Him and meet with each other. ‘The church’ also signifies the people in this building. There are different kinds of churches in the UK: Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Independent, Pentecostal to name just a handful. These different varieties of church are known as ‘denominations’. Each denomination is characterised by the way they worship and lead their church communities.
But ‘the Church’ (with a capital ‘C’) is the name used by Christians to refer to all those who follow Jesus around the world, and cuts across denominations. It began on the day of Pentecost, when thousands of people joined the new community of believers in Jerusalem, and has been spreading ever since. It now totals 2 billion people worldwide.
In this section you will find films to help you explore different church buildings, articles that showcase some of the different styles of worship in different denominations, and information about what happens in churches throughout the week. You can also find out about the beliefs and values shared by the Church community. Perhaps you can start by discovering what happened when the earliest Christians met together?
(For virtual tours of significant church buildings, please look at the ‘People’ section, under ‘Places’.)Bookmark