A parish church
is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish
, the basic administrative unit of episcopal churches. In many parts of the world, especially in rural areas, the parish church is fundamental to the life of the community.
The church building reflects this status, and there is considerable variety in the size and style of parish churches. Many villages in Europe have churches that date back to the Middle Ages, but all periods of architecture are represented.
Larger towns and cities, even those with cathedrals, still have parishes and parish churches. However, with the decline in the number of worshippers and the shortage of parish priests, there is a trend towards team ministry and many parish churches no longer have a service every Sunday.
Some notable parish churches in Great Britain:
- St Peter's Church, Barton-upon-Humber, North Lincolnshire (Saxon tower)
- St Botolph's Church, Boston, Lincolnshire
- St Mary Redcliffe's Church, Bristol
- St Martin's Church, Canterbury, Kent (oldest church in England)
- St Wulfram's Church, Grantham, Lincolnshire (14th century spire)
- St Michael's Church, Lewes, Sussex (round tower)
- St Illtyd's Church, Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan (medieval wall paintings)
- St Andrew's Church, Plymouth, Devon (rebuilt after World War II)