World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Church Body

Article Id: WHEBN0008968083
Reproduction Date:

Title: Church Body  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Lecture
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Church Body

For other uses, see Local church (disambiguation).

A local church is a Christian religious organization that meets in a particular location. Many are formally organized, with constitutions and by-laws, maintain offices, are served by pastors or lay leaders, and, in nations where this is permissible, often seek seek non-profit corporate status. Local churches often relate or affiliate with denominations, connecting them with a specific tradition within the Christian religion, sharing in a broad sense a history, culture and doctrinal heritage with other church bodies of the same tradition.

Types

A local church may be an independently run congregational church and may be associated with other similar congregations in a denomination or convention, as are the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention or like German or Swiss Landeskirchen. It may be united with other congregations under the oversight of a council of pastors as are Presbyterian churches. It may be united with other parishes under the oversight of bishops, as are Methodist, Anglican, and Eastern churches. Finally, the local church may function as the lowest subdivision in a large, global hierarchy under the leadership of one priest, such as the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Such association or unity is a church's ecclesiastical polity.

Description

Among congregational churches, since each local church is autonomous, there are no formal lines of responsibility to organizational levels of higher authority. Deacons of each church are elected by the congregation. In some Baptist congregations, for example, deacons function much like a board of directors or executive committee authorized to make important decisions, although these congregations typically retain the right to vote on major decisions such as purchasing or selling property, large spending and the hiring or firing of pastors and other paid ministers. In many such local churches, the role of deacons includes pastoral and nurturing responsibilities. Typically, congregational churches have informal worship styles, less structured services, and may tend toward modern music and celebrations.[1][2]

Local churches united with others under the oversight of a bishop are normally called "parishes", by Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran communions. Each parish usually has one active parish church, though seldom and historically more than one. The parish church has always been fundamental to the life of every parish community, especially in rural areas. For example, in the Church of England, parish churches are the oldest churches to be found in England. A number are substantially of Anglo-Saxon date and all subsequent periods of architecture are represented in the country. Most parishes have churches that date back to the Middle Ages. Thus, such local churches tend to favor traditional, formal worship styles, liturgy, and classical music styles, although modern trends are common as well.

Local parishes of the Roman Catholic Church, like episcopal parishes, favor formal worship styles, and still more traditional structure in services. The importance of formal office is also a distinctive trait; thus a solemn mass may include the presence of officers of the Knights of Columbus as an escort for the regional bishop when he is present. Likewise, vestments are valued to inculcate the solemnity of the Holy Eucharist and are typically more elaborate than in other churches.

A local church may also be a mission, that is a smaller church under the sponsorship of a larger congregation, a bishop, or a greater church hierarchy. Often congregational churches prefer to call such local mission churches "church plants."

A local church may also work in association with parachurch organizations. While ParaChurch Organizations/Ministries are vital to accomplishing specific missions on behalf of the church they do not normally take the place of the local church. Ministries, Bible Studies and other such Parachurch partnerships may be seen as beneficial and as a great means of personal growth and effective ministry but without superseding (in priority and commitment) the local body of Christ.

Local church vs. denomination

The word denomination is sometimes used as a synonym of local church. Sometimes, however, denomination is used to mean the whole tradition to which the local church belongs. So, for example, some writers refer to the United Methodist Church as a denomination, while others refer to Methodism as a denomination. For this reason, many scholars in the disciplines of Theology and Religious Studies prefer to speak in the following manner: a religion is a broad movement, sharing a common world view and some doctrinal and philosophical positions, a tradition is a movement within a religion, a church body a physical manifestation of a tradition and a congregation a local gathering of believers who belong to the church body.

See also

Christianity portal

References

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.