J5: A Place of Christian Worship
Revision Notes for Edexcel Religious Studies
• When answering “Explain” questions,
always remember to include your BCG:
• B - What does the Bible say?
• C - The Catechism or the Creeds
• G - The example of God the Son (Jesus)
5.1 Features of a Catholic church:
architectural and interior
• Often built in the shape of a cross, facing
East (sunrise, new life)
• Altar - sacriﬁce of Jesus
• Tabernacle - holds Blessed Sacrament
• Font - baptism
• Lectern - Reading from the Bible
• Also: pulpit, statues, Stations of the Cross, Virgin Mary,
5.2 The role of the priest in the parish
1. Administer the Sacraments
2. Represent Christ at the Mass: consecrate the bread
3. Prepare those about to receive the Sacraments
4. Conduct baptisms, marriages and funerals
5. Lead the Parish Council
6. Governor of local Catholic schools
5.3 The role of the church in the parish
1. Provide Mass and Sacraments for Catholics in the area
2. Provide weddings, baptisms and funerals
3. Provide children’s liturgies so children can learn
about Christianity; conﬁrmation classes etc
4. Social facilities eg youth clubs, lunch clubs for elderly
5. Provide help for those in trouble
6. Be involved in moral and social issues (eg CAFOD,
5.4 The reasons for differences in
places of Christian worship
Communion table - communion is not a
Altar - sacriﬁce of Jesus sacriﬁce, but a reminder of Jesus’ Last
Statues of saints and Virgin Mary - No statues, plainness - belief that statues
belief that saints can take prayers to are forbidden by Ten Commandments, and
God, and Mary is the model of reminder of invisible nature of God. Also do
not believe in praying to saints.
Focus of church - altar, tabernacle Focus of church - pulpit with open
and cruciﬁx - reminders of the Bible - - reminder of the Bible and its
sacriﬁce of Jesus - Eucharist is the teachings - the sermon is the most
most important part of worship important part of worship
Cruciﬁx - suffering and death of Cross - the resurrection of Jesus and
Jesus, a sacriﬁce for our sins hope of eternal life
5.5 The reasons for different forms of
• Liturgical: Set order of service. Mass and sacraments are at
centre of worship. Only a priest can celebrate the sacraments, so
should lead the worship. Sacrament has to follow a set order to
be effective. (Catholic, Orthodox)
• Non-Liturgical: No set order or written prayers. Bible readings
and long sermon. Bible is source of faith and centre of worship.
Priesthood of all believers so anyone can lead worship. More
freedom. (Nonconformist Protestant Churches, eg Methodist)
• Charismatic: More spontaneous, led by the Spirit. Hymns,
gospel music, speaking in tongues, long sermon. Belief that
worship should be spontaneous, and opening yourself to the
Holy Spirit allows your worship to reach God. (Pentecostal)
• Outline the role and function of the church in the local community, or of the
cathedral in the diocese.
• Describe the architectural and other main features found in a Catholic church or
• Outline the role and function of a parish church.
• Describe the main differences in worship amongst Christians.
• Outline the role of a Catholic church or cathedral.
• Describe the main features of a Catholic church or cathedral.
(b) 8 marks - make 4 points (PEE)
• Choose a Catholic church or cathedral and explain why it has certain architectural and other
• Explain how the main features of a Catholic church, or cathedral, show Catholic beliefs.
• Explain why there are differences in Christian places of worship.
• Explain how the architectural and other main features of a Catholic church show Catholic beliefs.
(c) 8 marks - 2 reasons for, 2 reasons against
• “All Christians should worship in the same way.”
• “The parish priest is the most important person in a Catholic’s life.”
• “The priest has no role to play in the local community today.”