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congregation

[kong-gri-gey-shuh n] /ˌkɒŋ grɪˈgeɪ ʃən/
noun
1.
an assembly of persons brought together for common religious worship.
2.
the act of congregating or the state of being congregated.
3.
a gathered or assembled body; assemblage.
4.
an organization formed for the purpose of providing for worship of God, for religious education, and for other church activities; a local church society.
5.
the people of Israel. Ex. 12:3,6; Lev. 4:13.
6.
New Testament. the Christian church in general.
7.
Roman Catholic Church.
  1. a committee of cardinals or other ecclesiastics.
  2. a community of men or women, either with or without vows, observing a common rule.
8.
(at English universities) the general assembly of the doctors, fellows, etc.
9.
(in colonial North America) a parish, town, plantation, or other settlement.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English congregacio(u)n (< Anglo-French) < Latin congregātiōn- (stem of congregātiō); see congregate, -ion
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for congregations
  • We will never know for sure what these corpses meant to the congregations who laid them out and dressed them.
  • Some congregations may see a priest no more than twice a year.
  • How far the leadership can continue doing this as congregations abroad get ever huger is open to doubt.
  • They are loved, accepted, and respected by their congregations.
  • In others they've switched to more-congenial congregations.
  • Many of the country's ablest citizens enrolled in seminaries to prepare for a life of service to their congregations.
  • Lacking any incentive to innovate, churches atrophy, and their congregations dwindle.
  • Whatever the name, these large and dynamic congregations are the fastest-growing ones in the country.
  • The priests and bishops were elected by their congregations.
  • He is not seen in public places, he dislikes congregations of all sorts.
British Dictionary definitions for congregations

congregation

/ˌkɒŋɡrɪˈɡeɪʃən/
noun
1.
a group of persons gathered for worship, prayer, etc, esp in a church or chapel
2.
the act of congregating or collecting together
3.
a group of people, objects, etc, collected together; assemblage
4.
the group of persons habitually attending a given church, chapel, etc
5.
(RC Church)
  1. a society of persons who follow a common rule of life but who are bound only by simple vows
  2. Also called dicastery. an administrative subdivision of the papal curia
  3. an administrative committee of bishops for arranging the business of a general council
6.
(mainly Brit) an assembly of senior members of a university
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for congregations

congregation

n.

mid-14c., "a gathering, assembly," from Old French congregacion (12c., Modern French congrégation), from Latin congregationem (nominative congregatio), noun of action from congregare (see congregate).

Used by Tyndale to translate Greek ekklesia in New Testament and by some Old Testament translators in place of synagoge. (Vulgate uses a variety of words in these cases, including congregatio but also ecclesia, vulgus, synagoga, populus.) Protestant reformers in 16c. used it in place of church; hence the word's main modern sense of "local society of believers" (1520s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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congregations in the Bible

(Heb. kahal), the Hebrew people collectively as a holy community (Num. 15:15). Every circumcised Hebrew from twenty years old and upward was a member of the congregation. Strangers resident in the land, if circumcised, were, with certain exceptions (Ex. 12:19; Num. 9:14; Deut. 23:1-3), admitted to the privileges of citizenship, and spoken of as members of the congregation (Ex. 12:19; Num. 9:14; 15:15). The congregation were summonded together by the sound of two silver trumpets, and they met at the door of the tabernacle (Num. 10:3). These assemblies were convened for the purpose of engaging in solemn religious services (Ex. 12:27; Num. 25:6; Joel 2:15), or of receiving new commandments (Ex. 19:7, 8). The elders, who were summonded by the sound of one trumpet (Num. 10:4), represented on various occasions the whole congregation (Ex. 3:16; 12:21; 17:5; 24:1). After the conquest of Canaan, the people were assembled only on occasions of the highest national importance (Judg. 20; 2 Chr. 30:5; 34:29; 1 Sam. 10:17; 2 Sam. 5:1-5; 1 Kings 12:20; 2 Kings 11:19; 21:24; 23:30). In subsequent times the congregation was represented by the Sanhedrim; and the name synagogue, applied in the Septuagint version exclusively to the congregation, came to be used to denote the places of worship established by the Jews. (See CHURCH.) In Acts 13:43, where alone it occurs in the New Testament, it is the same word as that rendered "synagogue" (q.v.) in ver. 42, and is so rendered in ver. 43 in R.V.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Article for congregations

congregation

an assembly of persons, especially a body assembled for religious worship or habitually attending a particular church. The word occurs more than 350 times in the King James Version of the English Bible, but only one of these references is in the New Testament (Acts 13:43). As it is used in the Old Testament, congregation sometimes refers to the entire Israelite community, and at other times it means a gathering or assembly of people

Learn more about congregation with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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