Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    A place of Christian worship; the whole body of Christians.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In its most general sense, tue religious society founded and established by Jesus Christ, to receive, preserve, and propagate his doctrines and ordinances. A body or community ot Christians, united under one form of government by the profession of the same faith, and the observance of the same rituui and ceremonies. The term may denote either a society of persons who, professing Christianity, hold certain doctrines or observances which differentiate them from other like groups, and who use a common discipline, or the building in which such persons habitually assemble for public worship. Baker v. Fales, 16 Mass. 498; Tate v. Lawrence, 11 Heisk. (Tenn.) 531; In re Zinzow, 18 Misc. Rep. 653, 43 N. Y. Supp. 714 ; Neale v. St. Paul's Church, 8 Gill (Md.) 116; Gaff v. Greer, 88 Ind. 122, 45 Am. Rep. 449; Josey v. Trust Co., 106 Ga. 608, 32 S. E. 628. The body of communicants gathered into church order, according to established usage in any town, parish, precinct, or religious society, established according to law, and actually connected and associated therewith for religious purposes, for the time being, is to be regarded as the church of such society, as to ali questions of property depending upon that relation. Stehi bins v. Jennings, 10 Pick. (Mass.) 193. A congregational church is a voluntary association of Christians united for discipline and worship, connected with, and forming a part of, some religious society, having a legal existence. Anderson v. Brock, 3 Me. 248. In English ecclesiastical law. An institution established by the law of the land in reference to religion. 3 Steph. Comm. 54. The word "church" is said to mean, in strictness, not the material fabric, but the cure of souls and the right of tithes. 1 Mod. 201.
    —Church building acts. Statutes passed in England in and since the year 1818, with the object of extending the accommodation afforded by the national church, so as to make it more commensurate with the wants of the people. 3 Steph. Comm. 152-164.
    —Church discipline act. The statute 3 & 4 Viet. c. 86, containing regulations for trying clerks in holy orders charged with offenses against ecclesiastical law, and for enforcing sentences pronounced in such cases. Phillim. Ecc. Law, 1314.
    —Church of England. The church of England is a distinct branch of Christ's church, and ls also an iristitution of the state, (see the first clause of Magna Charta,) of which the sovereign is the supreme head by act of parliament, (26 Hen. VIII. c. 1,) but in what sense is not agreed. The sovereign must be a member of the church, and every subject is in theory a member. Wharton. Pawlet v. Clark, 9 Cranch, 292, 3 I. Bid. 735.
    —Church rate. In English law. A sum assessed for the repair of parochial churches by the representatives of the parishioners in vestry assembled.
    —Church reeve. A church warden; an overseer of a church. Now obsolete. Cowell.
    —Church-scot. In old English law. Customary obligations paid to the parish priest; from which duties the religious sometimes purchased an exemption for themselves and their tenants.
    —Church wardens. A species of ecclesiastical officers who are intrusted with the care and guardianship of the church building and property. These, with the rector and vestry, represent the parish in its corporate capacity.
    —Churchyard. See Cemetery.