View Full Version : Main church room thingy...help!

04-04-2009, 09:31 AM
I feel pretty ridiculous not knowing this...I'm writing a scene that takes place in one of those "megachurches", and I need to know the name for the main room where the services take place.

I think traditionally this room is called a sanctuary, but that just doesn't fit with this 50,000 seat arena, complete with LCD screens and crazy sound equipment, etc. Is that still what it's called?


04-04-2009, 09:34 AM
sanctuary or nave, I believe

04-04-2009, 09:39 AM
From the front row where people sit forward, encompassing the area of the altar, lectern, etc, is the Sanctuary. From the front row where people sit back, it's the nave.

Here you go; a diagram (http://www.kencollins.com/glossary/plan-1.htm).

There are minor differences between denominations, churches, and congregations.

04-04-2009, 11:16 AM
Great diagram, thanks!

Here's my problem now...my MC has just walked into a megachurch. He looks through one of the sets of double doors into the massive auditorium style room. (He's not a regular church-goer.) So how can I say this?

"He peered through the open doors at the nave."

Am I just immature, or does that sound dirty to anyone else? :tongue

04-04-2009, 01:14 PM
I would say something along the lines of:
He peered through the open doors at the vast space beyond. That's too big to be a nave, he thought

04-04-2009, 04:56 PM
Auditorium is correct. Nave or Sanctuary is also correct. If he's not a regular church goer, he might not be familiar with the term. He might even be a writer who has to go to a forum to FIND the term. In which case he would simply describe it as an "auditorium" until/unless someone at the church uses the term or points it out.

04-04-2009, 05:55 PM
If he's not a regular church goer, I don't think he's immediately fix on the term. I grew up in a Protestant household (going to church regularly until I was about thirteen) and I couldn't think of the proper term.

Barb D
04-04-2009, 06:30 PM
I'd go with auditorium.

04-04-2009, 07:53 PM
How about "Row after row of pews"

And "Megachurch" is a Cathedral.

04-04-2009, 08:04 PM
Theatre? I mean, they can call it whatever, but it's all theater in the theatre.

04-04-2009, 08:17 PM
I've been to a megachurch outside Chicago (they had restaurants and ball courts and swimming pools in there--it was as big as the town where I grew up, lol) and they called the big room the auditorium. I've also gone to a lot of smaller churches that call it either the auditorium or the sanctuary. Mine are all Protestant experiences, and it's true that different denominations call them different things.

Smiling Ted
04-05-2009, 02:01 AM
Why not go to the website of a megachurch and check out their floor plans?
The two most famous these days are Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, and the New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

Neither of them, I believe, uses cathedral terms like "nave" - instead, it's phrases like "worship center."

04-05-2009, 06:57 PM
And "Megachurch" is a Cathedral.

A cathedral is the home church of a bishop. It may or may not be big enough to be considered a megachurch.

04-05-2009, 07:36 PM
The one at my church (Christian) is called a "sanctuary."