Definition of congregation in US English:



  • 1A group of people assembled for religious worship.

    • ‘I find very few of these young adults in traditional worship services in congregations on Sunday mornings.’
    • ‘In it the Epiklesis invokes the Holy Spirit over the assembled congregation, but not on the elements.’
    • ‘Mass congregations for a religious purpose must be banned, to avoid such tragedies as well as to avoid communal conflagrations.’
    • ‘There should be hymn-singing by ragis or by the whole congregation.’
    • ‘In the congregation assembled for worship, these two movements meet, and the heavenly angels join the children of God in festal celebration.’
    • ‘From the point of view of the religious congregations, seizing all opportunities to bring lay Jews closer to Orthodoxy, the shaitl did not seem to be a theme worthy of reflection.’
    • ‘Slowly various people throughout the whole congregation got to their feet, until finally all were standing.’
    • ‘Now people hop, skip, and jump among religious bodies and congregations, picking and choosing, paying their money and taking their choice.’
    • ‘For each song of the congregation throughout the worship service, the organist plays the same servant role.’
    • ‘Society in general, and the general decline in the nation's moral responsibilities, is also named as the reason for dwindling congregations and religious desertion.’
    • ‘If they did, they, too, would die, and God's wrath would come upon the whole congregation.’
    • ‘What ought to be worship from a congregation has become entertainment for an audience.’
    • ‘The ministry and the budget need to reflect the assembled gifts of the congregation.’
    • ‘The congregation or assembly does not wait until worship is over before it proclaims the good news.’
    • ‘No longer will we sit silently in church conferences, conventions, assemblies or congregations where the Bible is used to caricature and condemn us.’
    • ‘For this service the whole congregation stands throughout, as the doors of the Ark are open.’
    • ‘Gathered in worship, a congregation will hear things its members will not hear elsewhere.’
    • ‘So she took her back home and she and her whole congregation prayed over her for her to heal.’
    • ‘It brings much delight and refreshment to a congregation in the Prayer Meeting to hear one or two unfamiliar texts of the Bible quoted.’
    • ‘The whole congregation was asked to stand and join in prayer for us.’
    parishioners, parish, churchgoers, flock, fold, faithful, following, followers, adherents, believers, loyal members, fellowship, communicants, laity, brethren, brothers and sisters, souls
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    1. 1.1 A group of people regularly attending a particular place of worship.
      ‘that church took the place of the storefront the congregation had used before the war’
      • ‘The congregation in Basra is doing better and meets regularly now.’
      • ‘They typically offered a more prominent role to women in their congregations than did the Regular Baptists.’
      • ‘This ethos also leads the faith-based programs to encourage extended social ties between their low-income clients and local religious congregations.’
      • ‘Bishop Ryan is disappointed at falling Sunday Mass attendances but he recognises that congregations are now attending out of conviction rather than convention.’
      • ‘The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.’
      • ‘All around the meeting place are blocks of flats and the congregation regularly does leaflet drops.’
      • ‘In those jobs they have been well received and proved themselves to be excellent pastoral workers, attending to their congregations with no less compassion and intelligence than their male counterparts.’
      • ‘Often it seemed that the message had transformed not merely the lives of individuals, but even whole congregations.’
      • ‘Eighteen religious congregations have now formally agreed to contribute 128 million to the State's compensation scheme.’
      • ‘Today's architects reach for new forms of expression that will shape the life and worship of congregations.’
      • ‘You may find it impossible to buy or rent a building for your congregation's worship services, or even to conduct an open-air revival meeting.’
      • ‘The core congregation that regularly goes to church is considerably smaller.’
      • ‘And if some congregations are choosing denominationalism, who and where are they?’
      • ‘The congregation regularly sponsors food bank drives and soup kitchens for the poor, many of whom are gambling addicts, and now faces eviction if the casino licence is approved.’
      • ‘I struggled to attend worship and sing in the choir at my home congregation.’
      • ‘Can we believe this and still worship in congregations that aren't racially diverse?’
      • ‘It will not take long, however, for the whole congregation to learn all the words.’
      • ‘It was observed too, that while some religious congregations even-handedly promoted vocations to the vowed life and the laity, this was not universal.’
      • ‘This was a list of their religious and social demands and included demands that ministers should be elected by the whole congregation and that they should teach the Holy Gospel in a pure and simple form.’
      • ‘Now we have one or two homeless members that are a regular part of our congregation.’
  • 2A gathering or collection of people, animals, or things.

    ‘large congregations of birds may cause public harm’
    • ‘The drama can be witnessed when the sea hares are breeding, and large congregations of this common slug attract the handsome predators.’
    • ‘If the birds are spreading it to each other, chances are large congregations of birds at a feeder could be infecting each other.’
    • ‘A small congregation of birds flew away in consternation.’
    • ‘There was much upset in the village after a large congregation gathered in order to see the band.’
    • ‘The mass congregation of these animals is the biggest outside Kenya's Serengeti, and was earlier erroneously believed to be part of a migration.’
    • ‘The congregation of roosters gathered for the urgent aviary consultations nod in agreement.’
    • ‘There was much awkward silence at a recent congregation of Harvard grads gathered to wish him well.’
    • ‘Of course, whenever birds are found in congregations it means only one thing - food.’
    • ‘The initiative is a global congregation of universities and private firms striving to advance small satellite technology.’
    • ‘The twins split off the second they saw the congregation of popular seniors.’
    • ‘Outside, a congregation of Rris were gathered around a stall where a pair were bickering, their animated snarls carrying over the street sounds.’
    • ‘The Aberdeen fans rolled up in numbers, and there was a similarly impressive midfield congregation gandering forward to assist the hosts' attack in the early stages.’
    gathering, assembly, flock, swarm, bevy, herd, pack, group, body, crowd, mass, multitude, horde, host, mob
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    1. 2.1 The action of gathering together in a crowd.
      ‘drought conditions lead to congregation of animals around watering points’
      • ‘This trend in modern suburbia has raised standards, creating more separate rooms in the house, freeing the living room from being a place of congregation for the entire family.’
      • ‘The cinema house is still basically a social space for mass congregation.’
  • 3(in the Roman Catholic Church) a permanent committee of the College of Cardinals.

    ‘the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’
    • ‘All matters of importance are referred to the general congregations, which since 1870 are held in the Vatican.’
    • ‘Last August I was summoned to our provincial headquarters where I was given a 14-page communication from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.’
    • ‘There is, of course, secrecy over these general congregations.’
    • ‘The primary duty and responsibility of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and preserve the Catholic Faith throughout the Church.’
    • ‘And, of course the cardinals will be in their general congregation.’
    1. 3.1British (in some universities) a general assembly of resident senior members.
      • ‘The defendants exercise control over the publisher through a committee nominated from the University Congregation and known as ‘The Delegates’.’
      • ‘If the Great Congregation was the legislative body of the University, Congregation was the executive body.’
      • ‘During the regular quarterly meeting of the University Congregation, two professors debated the merits of the departmental system, one recommending the greatest possible degree of consolidation, while the other argued that interdisciplinary needs could be met by a consolidated catalog and a system of underground book-railways linking the General and departmental libraries.’
  • 4A group of people obeying a common religious rule but under less solemn vows than members of the older religious orders.

    ‘the sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady’
    • ‘Generally speaking the members of an Anglican congregation either deny that they are Anglican, are tourists or mumble something before running away.’
    • ‘In Hungary the religious congregations and their priests or ministers were supported by their respective mother churches through an obligatory religious tax.’
    • ‘He sets aside, for the most part, exegetical and systematic theological questions, as well as the subject of priests in religious orders and congregations.’
    • ‘Finally, considered as parts of a social ecology, congregations of a religious district are social actors.’
    • ‘Presumably the popularity of the name would outweigh any slight that Dominicans, Jesuits, or members of other orders and congregations might feel.’
    • ‘Assemblies of God congregations, on the other hand, are more likely to contain only two groups.’
    • ‘In the Baptism liturgy, there is clear involvement of the whole congregation as a baptizing community.’
    • ‘The Baraka congregation also includes international members from as far away as Korea and Sweden.’
    • ‘Thus, most Americans are members of a congregation that falls somewhere between these two extremes.’
    • ‘For young people who remain in congregations, worship is found to be interesting because it is an engaging intersection of the gospel with their lives.’
    • ‘All the initiated Sikhs form Panth, whereas all the members of a Sikh congregation form a Sangat or Sikh Sangat.’
    • ‘Sociological literature has addressed how religious ideals inform a congregation's public presence.’
    • ‘The track has been adopted by religious congregations of all denominations across America for use in services.’
    • ‘It is little coincidence that there are more Messianic congregations tightly packed into the peninsula of South Florida than any other similarly sized region in North America.’
    • ‘What role are congregations and other religious organizations likely to play in America's future social welfare system?’
    1. 4.1 A group of communities within a religious order sharing particular historical or regional links.
      • ‘The spirit of the kehillah survived into the twentieth century in the form of landsmanshaft, separate societies existing within congregations in cities such as New York.’
      • ‘Outreach can happen at various levels: worldwide, local, and within the congregation.’
      • ‘How can communications equipment be shared fairly by multiple congregations?’
      • ‘In our local congregations and within our denominations we would be on shaky ground if we based every decision on whether or not sensibilities in the group would be insulted by our conclusions.’
      • ‘Yet the Anglican Church in Africa will probably not be able to survive as we know it today if it is forced to cut off links with the congregation in the West on this issue.’
      • ‘For this reason he has encouraged the social committee to widen the scope of this year's fête, drawing in helpers from outside the congregation and offering to share any profits for the benefit of the town.’
      • ‘Such execution of discipline within Baptist congregations aided in weeding out members who failed to meet the community's standard of commitment and participation.’
      • ‘Many of them wanted to use the lab both as an outreach program for the surrounding community and as a tool for Christian education within the congregation.’
      • ‘Ten acres were donated to the church, which will raise money within the congregation to build a 7,000-seat sanctuary.’
      • ‘Particularly overlapping were the chapters on the pulpit and on congregations within a congregation.’
      • ‘There were several different ways women lived out their feminism within the same Catholic congregation.’
      • ‘Much of our mission field in fact is within our own congregations.’
      • ‘There were more German Catholics, who (with other German-speakers) formed their own communities or congregations in the capital cities.’
      • ‘They close their eyes to the fact that not all religions nor every congregation within any given denomination agrees with their stance.’
      • ‘Added to these were the leadership and the interpersonal skills of the incumbent rabbi, who was much respected, both within and outside the congregation.’
      • ‘A congregation perceives its role within a community according to its core values.’
      • ‘These congregations share both a territory and a set of differentiated social networks.’
      • ‘In this process of mutual support, though, do they in any way create a congregation within the congregation?’


Late Middle English (in congregation (sense 2, congregation sense 3, congregation sense 4)): from Latin congregatio(n-), from congregare ‘collect (into a flock)’ (see congregate).