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Exploring Churches: Gain Insights to Enhance Your Visit.

Reconize what you see when you visit an English church. Find out what can be seen and somethimg of their history .
4.4 (6 ratings)
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510 students enrolled
Created by Janet Gentles
Last updated 3/2016
English English
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Confidently identify the main features of churches as well as many of the furnishings found in them.
Explain what has been learnt to others.
Share some interesting anecdotes from history.
Have a collection of unusual facts about churches to inform others
View Curriculum
  • A basic understanding of Christianity would be helpful but is not essential.

In this informative guide you will learn why English churches are designed as they are, the purpose of many items found in them and some interesting historical facts which add further insights.

English churches share many features in common with other Christian churches across the world, so much the knowledge gained by taking this course can easily be applied to your local church or when you visit a church while travelling.

Starting with a general introduction to English church buildings you will be led on a tour from the steeple to the sanctuary. Along the way you will discover some engaging snippets from history and other interesting facts. Through the many images used you will be able to see examples of the various things described.

This is an introduction to what is really a large subject and even if you are already familiar with churches you are likely to find out things you did not know before.

What you discover here will be a useful guide when you visit churches. You will be able to explain to those visiting with you something about the various things you see.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for those who like to visit churches either locally or when travelling.
  • You can benefit from this course if you attend Church but would like to know more about the building and how it is used..
  • This course is not for those who are already greatly involved in the life and work of the Church.
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 10 Lectures Collapse All 10 Lectures 01:06:20
Introduction, Overview and Welcome
2 Lectures 12:43

Identifying the shapes and sizes of churches and looking at one of the smallest in England.

Preview 11:00

Churches Seen from the Outside
2 Lectures 13:50

Examining steeples, towers and features found on church roofs.

Steeples, Towers, Lanterns and Bellcotes

There are some unusual item to be found on the exterior walls of churches which are worth looking for.

The Church Walls

Steeple, Roof and Walls Quiz
3 questions
Narthex and Nave
4 Lectures 24:04

In this section the two main extensions of the church are explored. You will also discover several historical details, some of which are quite amusing.

Porch and Narthex

Pews and their interesting history are examined.


A brief introduction to stained glass windows and the symbolism found in some of them.

Stained Glass Windows

A brief look at the history of pulpit and lectern and some styles of them.

Pulpit and Lectern

Why were church floors often covered with rushes?

Narthex and Nave Quiz
3 questions
Choir and Sanctuary
2 Lectures 13:43

Discover why the choir stalls face each other and what misericords are.

The Choir, Organ and Miserichords.

The altar as focal point of the church and other things that can be seen in the sanctuary.

The Sanctuary

Chancel Quiz
3 questions
About the Instructor
4.5 Average rating
11 Reviews
599 Students
2 Courses
Promoter of the Paschal Light

For over forty years Janet has been researching and writing on Christian spirituality and Christian and Jewish mysticism.

* Extracts from her book 'Meditations on the Collects' have been quoted in the Church Times.
* Her biography of the first Jamaican Diocesan bishop. 'Percival Jamaica: His Life and Work' is to be found in the Henry Martyn Library, Cambridge University.
* Articles have been published in the Lay Reader (on the Labyrinth), the journal of the CSWG monastery (A Taste of Kabbalah) and elsewhere.
* Played an instrumental role in the preparation of the first edition of 'A Handbook for Anglicans' which is now widely used by the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
* Janet has guest lectured and given talks on spirituality to both undergraduate and postgraduate students at the United Theological College of the West Indies. She has also given talks to several Church groups...

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