Glossary

Churches sometimes use old fashioned and unusual words.  Some of the members of Sunday Club have made this collection of words for parts of the church.

Aisle: generally the passages to the side of the main part of the church (the nave) although there is often also a central aisle, as there is in our church.

Altar: an area in the centre of the chancel which is the centre of worship.  In some churches it may be very ornate, but in Methodist churches such as ours it is common for it to comprise just a communion table.

Chancel: the area of the church which includes the altar.  Often (as in our church) this is also where the choir sits when there is one.  It is sometimes separated from the rest of the church by a screen or, as in our church by a rail which is referred to as an altar rail.

Crossing: the area where the central part of the church (the nave) and the crosswise part of the church (the transept) meet, generally in front of the chancel.  Where a church has a tower (as our church does) this often stands above the crossing.

Lectern: one of the places in the chancel where speakers stand, the lectern is often a bit less grand than the other (the pulpit) and it is traditionally on the right from the congregation’s perspective.

Narthex: the entrance or lobby area of a church, usually at the far end of the nave from the chancel.

Nave: the central body of the church where the congregation sits.

Pew: a traditional bench seat used in a church.

Pulpit: one of the places in the chancel at which speakers stand, the pulpit is often more grand than the other (the lectern) and is traditionally to the left from the congregation’s perspective.

Transept: the part of a traditional cross shaped church like ours which lies crosswise to the main body of the church (the nave).

Vestry: a room used to store robes and as a sort of office for preparation of services.