Worship and Key Beliefs - Christianity

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Places of Worship

Christian places of worship include churches, chapels and cathedrals.

Worship in the home

  • Use prayer aids including the Bible, prayer books, statues, icons and crosses or crucifixes. To aid concentration, Catholics use Rosary beads
  • House Church - group of Christians who meet for worship in homes. They believe that their informal style of worship is how Jesus intended his followers to worship God.

Exterior of Christian places of worship

  • Spires - represent a symbolic 'finger' pointing to Heaven as a reminder that it is through Christian worship that the way is open to God
  • Bell tower - bells are rung to call worshippers to prayer
  • Circular dome - represents heaven and the eternity of God
  • Churches in the shape of a cross - Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross to save them from sin
  • Stained glass windows - feature stories of the Bible or the lives of leading Christians
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The interior of Roman Catholic and Anglican (Church of England) Churches

  • Altar - central feature in the Church as well as the holiest part. Candles are lit on the altar at the beginning of each service as a reminder that Christ will be present during the service
  • Pulpit and lectern - a stand on which the Bible rests and from which the Bible readings are given.
  • Font - usually situated near the door to symbolise that it is through baptism that people gain entry to the Christian faith
  • Confessional - a place where a priest hears people confess their sins

The interior of Orthodox churches

  • Altar - hidden behind a screen (the iconostasisa screen bearing icons, separating the sanctuary of the church from the nave) painted with pictures of Christ, the Virgin Mary and saints. It is a reminder of the separation between Heaven and Earth
  • Royal Doors - are opened and closed during the service to represent the link between Heaven and Earth brought through Jesus' death
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The interior of Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed churches

  • Pulpit - focal point of the church because these denominations believe that salvation comes through the Word of God. Therefore, the most important part of worship is listening to Bible readings or sermons explaining God's word.
  • Communion table - this is used instead of an altar to show the preparation of the Lord's supper also known as the Eucharist. These churches reject any suggestion that there is sacrifice in Holy communion and so do not use an altar as it's definition is "sacrifice". 
  • Some Methodist and United Reformed churches use fonts, others just use bowls to act as a font.
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