OT: Narthex vs Vestibule

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Denise | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Feb 8 2019 8:23 AM

I'm sure this is not critical. When we first started going to a church here, they had a 'narthex'. That sounded suspiciously un-scriptural. Growing up, we had a 'vestibule'. Announcement boards and upset babies go in the vestibule, along with snow boots.

But it turns out, it's a matter of tradition. Though apparently early new believers and penetents couldn't go past the 'narthex'.  These days, the pastor has to clear the 'narthex' to get services started ... happy conversations.


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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 8 2019 9:38 AM

Denise,

  Expanding your semantic range to include terms that may be used in other Christian meeting places gives hints at what the "vestibule" may now be called in other congregations.

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Gerald | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 8 2019 11:35 AM

I always wondered why the "Northex" was on the south side of the sanctuary in the Methodist church I used to attend. I assumed they were just using a southern dialect :).

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 8 2019 12:24 PM

David Thomas:

Denise,

  Expanding your semantic range to include terms that may be used in other Christian meeting places gives hints at what the "vestibule" may now be called in other congregations.

Thank you, David.

I thought lobbies went with hotels, along with atriums. But I might be pre-50s. There was another word, but a Catholic site labeled it as New Age. Have to be careful. I think St Peter, checking Logos packages, will occupy the narthex to heaven.


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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 8 2019 3:33 PM

from Wikidiff

As nouns the difference between vestibule and narthex is that vestibule is (architecture) a passage, hall or room, such as a lobby, between the outer door and the interior of a building while narthex is (architecture) a western vestibule leading to the nave in some (especially orthodox) christian churches.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 8 2019 3:45 PM

David Thomas:

Denise,

  Expanding your semantic range to include terms that may be used in other Christian meeting places gives hints at what the "vestibule" may now be called in other congregations.

I bet if you clicked "case insensitive," foyer and lobby would be off the charts.

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 8 2019 3:55 PM

Justin Gatlin:
I bet if you clicked "case insensitive," foyer and lobby would be off the charts.

Here you go:

Lobby, yes. Foyer, no.

Of course this really doesn't say anything about what churches call this space. We call ours a foyer most often, but we use 'entryway' as well. Lobby makes me think of a hotel or a big corporate office.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 8 2019 11:06 PM

We had a "narthex" in my large Presbyterian church in Seattle. But we have a "front hall" or "entryway" in my current small church, which isn't actually in a church building. It meets in the chapel of what was formerly a convent, and is now a residence hall for Christian university students.

Now don't get me started on whether "foyer" should be pronounced "FOY-er" (as I have always heard it) or "FOY-yay" (as they seem to pronounce it here in Canada, perhaps due to the French influence).

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 8 2019 11:18 PM

Since it is a ngram viewer, I decided we need n >1

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 9 2019 8:45 AM

Rosie Perera:
Now don't get me started on whether "foyer" should be pronounced "FOY-er" (as I have always heard it) or "FOY-yay" (as they seem to pronounce it here in Canada, perhaps due to the French influence).

Big SmileYes

My USA born, raised and educated theatre teacher in High School taught "Foy-yah". Here in Kansas it is often pronounced "4-yer". I think Mr. Shepherd was trying to balance out the over-use of "r" in our diction.

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scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 9 2019 8:50 AM

David Thomas:

Rosie Perera:
Now don't get me started on whether "foyer" should be pronounced "FOY-er" (as I have always heard it) or "FOY-yay" (as they seem to pronounce it here in Canada, perhaps due to the French influence).

Big SmileYes

My USA born, raised and educated theatre teacher in High School taught "Foy-yah". Here in Kansas it is often pronounced "4-yer". I think Mr. Shepherd was trying to balance out the over-use of "r" in our diction.

Growing up in the United Church of Canada, we had a FOY-yay.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 9 2019 8:59 AM

MJ. Smith:

Since it is a ngram viewer, I decided we need n >1

Hmmm ... much better. Looks like the scriptural 'vestibule' is back on the rise. Smiling. Although as a matter of boundaries, I never told my Dad, our church had a 'narthex'. I'd be smilingly ushered out the vestibule. 


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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 9 2019 11:19 AM

You know, there's a serious issue here.  Church jargon can create unnecessary barriers between Christians and between Christians and the surrounding community.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 9 2019 12:56 PM

EastTN:

You know, there's a serious issue here.  Church jargon can create unnecessary barriers between Christians and between Christians and the surrounding community.

I know what you're saying. But for some beliefs (I suspect 99%), simple words speak volumes. Maybe unintensionally. Another word that would bring complete silence at the parent's dinner table would be 'santuary' (where worship occurs). My, oh my, the end is in sight. 'Auditorium!'.  I remember a Bible class with fairly broad minded but conservative members. A lady used a word, and the whole discussion (class) halted. No one was sure if it was a wrong word (sounded New Age), so out of courtesy, they finished up. That was amazing.


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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 9 2019 12:59 PM

In Britain, we often call this a porch. From Wikipedia:

In Great Britain the projecting porch had come into common use in churches by early medieval times. They were usually built of stone but occasionally were of timber. Normally they were placed on the south side of the church, but also on the west and north sides, sometimes in multiple. The porches served to give cover to worshippers, but they also had a liturgical use. At a baptism, the priest would receive the sponsors, with the infant, in the porch and the service began there.

In later medieval times, the porch sometimes had two storeys, with a room above the entrance which was used as a local school, meeting room, storeroom, or even armoury. If the village or town possessed a collection of books, it would be housed there.

Sometimes the church custodian lived in the upper storey and a window into the church would allow supervision of the main church interior. Some British churches have highly ornamented porches, both externally and internally. The south porch at NorthleachGloucestershire, in the Cotswolds, built in 1480, is a well-known example, and there are several others in East Anglia and elsewhere in the UK.[13]

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 9 2019 3:17 PM

My dictionary gives two separate senses for narthex - portico or vestibule. Sounds like American tend to use the sense "vestibule" (leads to nave) and the Brits use "portico" (outside, covered gathering area)

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 9 2019 3:42 PM

Mark Barnes:

In Britain, we often call this a porch. From Wikipedia:

In Great Britain the projecting porch had come into common use in churches by early medieval times. They were usually built of stone but occasionally were of timber. Normally they were placed on the south side of the church, but also on the west and north sides, sometimes in multiple. The porches served to give cover to worshippers, but they also had a liturgical use. At a baptism, the priest would receive the sponsors, with the infant, in the porch and the service began there.

In later medieval times, the porch sometimes had two storeys, with a room above the entrance which was used as a local school, meeting room, storeroom, or even armoury. If the village or town possessed a collection of books, it would be housed there.

Sometimes the church custodian lived in the upper storey and a window into the church would allow supervision of the main church interior. Some British churches have highly ornamented porches, both externally and internally. The south porch at NorthleachGloucestershire, in the Cotswolds, built in 1480, is a well-known example, and there are several others in East Anglia and elsewhere in the UK.[13]

Ah! So that explains George Herbert's poem "The Church-Porch" which is the prefatory poem in his collection THE TEMPLE. I think I knew that meaning of "porch" of a church at one time, when I studied Herbert's poems, but had completely forgotten about it when this discussion came up.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 9 2019 4:39 PM

We always call in the foyer. Perhaps its a Canadian thing.

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