For today’s post for the Blog Every Day in November Challenge, Elizabeth has asked us to make a list of ten things.
Update 8 Nov. A blogging friend just posted some lovely photos of Canterbury Cathedral, which complement this post.
I wondered about picking ten random items I could find in my living room. I didn’t think that would make an interesting post, so I have decided to write about ten things to be found in most church buildings in the Anglican Church (and some other denominations).
- Font The Font is usually near the door of the church. It is a container for the water used in baptism of babies and older believers. (Nowadays Baptisms, otherwise known as Christenings, often take place using a portable font in front of the pews.)
- Pew Pews are where the congregation sits. In olden days the pews were enclosed with a door on the end. Families might have their own pew. Nowadays in many churches and cathedrals chairs are replacing pews.
- Window There are often beautiful pictures on the windows, which use stained glass to tell stories from the Bible.
- Altar At the East end of the church there is a Communion Table or Altar. Communicants kneel before the altar to receive the sacrament of Bread and Wine.
- Aisle The aisle is the central passageway between the pews. It is the route taken by a bride and has given rise to the expression “Walking down the aisle” to mean getting married. There may be side aisles as well and a large church building has more pews beyond the side aisles.
- Nave The Nave is the part of the church which includes the congregation’s seating. It is a similar word to naval, concerning ships. The inside of the roof of the nave resembles the construction of a ship (upside-down).
- Chancel The Chancel is the area to the east of the Nave. It usually includes the organ and the choir stalls as well as the altar behind the altar rail. There is a chancel step as the Chancel is at a higher level than the nave.
- Transept Most churches are built in the shape of a cross. There is a wider section at the join between the nave and the chancel. This is known as the Transept. Trans means across. Septum means partition. In some churches there is a physical partition in the transept – a rood screen. (Rood is an archaic word for the Cross of Christ.) A lectern, from which the Bible is read and the pulpit, from which sermons are preached are often sited in the transept.
- Chapel There may also be a Chapel in the area adjacent to the chancel. This is like a church within a church. Often it is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin and referred to as the Lady Chapel.
- Cross Every Christian church building has at least one cross. There is a cross on or near each altar. There may be a processional cross, which is on a long pole and carried in front of the procession of choir and clergy. Some of the windows may also depict the cross. It is central to the Christian faith. Without Christ’s incarnation (commemorated at Christmas), death on the cross, resurrection to life and ascension into heaven, there would be no forgiveness or redemption.
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