[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/{{Up}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/up_church.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Not everyone believes in the Great Purple Lilac, but don't argue about it now. [[TearJerker This is a funeral]].]]
In works of fiction, this trope is the habit of not mentioning or showing the specific denomination (or even religion) of a temple, church, or place of worship where the denomination would be '''''expected''''' to play a role. This can take the form of using a generic/made up denomination name in place of a real one, not identifying the church, or combining traits of different denominations to confuse the issue.

This trope is usually used to introduce religion while avoiding it entering too deeply or divisively into a show, a sort of LawOfConservationOfDetail used to keep from distracting the audience. Similar to JesusTaboo, this trope is sometimes purposely used to avoid accusations of favoring/disfavoring a religion, especially when used to avoid marketing mishaps in children's media. Usually in the case of Christian churches, they just have a steeple, pews, a dais and generic stained glass windows without direct symbolic links (such as crosses or angels) that could be identified or interpreted as a specific denomination.

Interestingly, this trope is very much TruthInTelevision. Much as SecularHero and JesusTaboo are common in communities that have diverse religious practices, it's common to see non-denominational "places of worship" in funeral homes, wedding chapels, hospitals, prisons, and airports in these communities. And there ''are'' some denominations that combine elements of the theology and practices of preexisting ones (e.g. Anglicanism, being somewhere between Catholicism and Protestantism), to say nothing of ones that syncretize Christianity with ''other'' religions (aka InterfaithSmoothie).

To avoid Administrivia/PeopleSitOnChairs, cases where the denomination of a church [[LawOfConservationOfDetail wouldn't be expected to play much of a part in the plot]] '''[[color:red:shouldn't be included as examples.]]''' For example, a lot of films have newlyweds driving away from an unidentified church -- here, the church is used mainly as a signifier that this couple is just married, and its denomination isn't at all important to the plot.

Compare JesusTaboo and AmbiguouslyChristian. Contrast ChristianityIsCatholic, InterfaithSmoothie. See also CrystalDragonJesus, AnimeCatholicism, and SaintlyChurch.


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing'', the Maxwell Church is supposed to be a Catholic church, although it's unusual because it's not named for Mary or a saint (it's named for the street it's on), and the roles Father Maxwell and Sister Helen play are [[NunsAreMikos more akin to a Shinto priest and miko]].
* A {{flashback}} scene in ''Anime/YuGiOh'' shows Pegasus and Cecelia's wedding in a church with a fancy cross in a stained glass window; one can only assume it was a Christian church, but no other clue to the specific denomination is given.
* In the anime adaptation of the ''Creator/KeyVisualArts'' visual novel ''VisualNovel/{{Kanon}}'', we see Yuuichi coming out of a fairly generic church in the final episode.

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* In ''Comicbook/SupermanTheWeddingAlbum'', Clark and Lois get married at the Metropolis Chapel of United Faiths.

[[folder: Film -- Animation ]]
* Creator/{{Pixar}} has a fondness for this trope:
** This trope is used in the wedding scene in ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles''.
** Pictured above in ''WesternAnimation/{{Up}}'', Carl sits at the chapel, mourning his wife. No explicit holy symbols are shown.
* In ''Disney/WreckItRalph'', the church shown in Calhoun's [[DarkAndTroubledPast ambushed wedding flashback]] and [[spoiler:later wedding to Felix]] is shown this way, with pews, a dais, and a pretty sunburst stained glass front lacking any denomination. Interestingly, the church ''is'' very angularly designed to fit in with the noir/futuristic setting of ''Hero's Duty'', Calhoun's game. The church in ''Hero's Duty'' is actually based on the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Air_Force_Academy_Cadet_Chapel United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel]] in Colorado Springs; the interior shown in the movie specifically resembles the Protestant Chapel section. Comparison [[http://i-dont-give-a-boo.tumblr.com/post/67603978364/queenscream3-norewardisworththis-sgt here.]]
* The bishops who appear in ''Disney/TangledEverAfter'' and ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' wear national symbols on their mitres instead of crosses: the sun of Corona and the crocus of Arendelle respectively. [[FanWank State-sponsored religions maybe?]] In Corona at least, the name and some of the solar iconography (particularly the cross replacement and the patium designs) seems to indeed imply a state religion akin to real life solar henotheism, like in Heliopolis and Emessa. Given that RealLife Scandinavia is chock full of current or until-quite recently state churches, this might well be TruthInTelevision.

[[folder: Film -- Live-Action ]]
* In ''Film/TwoThousandTwelve'', the White House has a non-denominational chapel with pews and stained glass art of doves. Interesting considering that not long before, the Vatican was destroyed by earthquakes, and not long after, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery is destroyed by a tsunami.
* Eli and his two wards from ''Film/HotLeadAndColdFeet'' belong to a faith that espouses a lot of mumbo-jumbo about "human kindness," and Eli at least has some familiarity with Literature/TheBible, but the movie reveals zero details beyond that. When he gets his own church at the end, there aren't any holy symbols to be seen.
* In ''Film/ManOfSteel'', Kal is sitting in a church when the pastor comes over to talk to him about turning himself in to authorities. While almost certainly a Catholic church (allowing Kal to invoke the Sanctity of the Confessional), the pastor is dressed in normal street clothes.
* In ''Film/IBoughtAVampireMotorcycle'' it is unclear whether the priest who Nobby seeks to exorcise his demon-possessed motorcycle is Catholic or High Church Anglican. Although since Nobby isn't very religious, it's plausible that the issue wouldn't come up.
* In ''Film/{{Ted 2}}'', the outside of a church is shown which appears to be a Catholic Gothic-style structure, but when the inside is shown (during a wedding), all stained glass windows have generic symbols, there are no Christian symbols, and the "priest" is wearing generic robe-like vestment with no markings.
* Completely averting this trope is TheWitch, where the family's Calvinism drives several plot points as discussed in the (spoiler-filled) note. It's a case study of how a work can benefit from averting this trope, in this case, for ReligiousHorror. [[note]] The Vvitch is about a Calvinist family. Calvinists believed in predestination, where nothing you can do affects whether you go to Heaven or Hell, and most of us are Hell-bound. The family is excommunicated from their church and the family's baby is stolen, presumed dead. Then the family's torments at the hands of a barely-glimpsed witch begin. As far as the family believes, their infant died unclean and now is in Hell, and as individuals are killed, most of them die ''believing they are Hell-bound.'' Thus, at the end when we see the family's teen daughter, in a raw twist of the FinalGirl, receive a visit from (presumably) Satan offering her power in exchange for submission, she readily agrees. And it makes sense because as a Calvinist, she's already been told she's probably going to Hell, everything that's happened to her family supports it, and she would be better off submitting and getting to "live deliciously" than go and have Satan himself really annoyed with her.[[/note]]

[[folder: Literature ]]
* ''Literature/TheBestChristmasPageantEver'' revolves around the activities of a Christian church in the 1970's, and takes the combination-of-elements approach. The fact that the building is called a church indicates it is not the worship place of Jehovah's Witnesses (who worship in Kingdom Halls) or Quakers (who worship in meeting halls); the church has a Reverend, placing it firmly with the Protestant persuasion, but not the Salvation Army (whose leaders are called generals). The church celebrated Christmas, which means it isn't Adventist and probably isn't Independent Fundamentalist Baptist. The made-for-TV movie adaptation shows an almost entirely white congregation which means the church is probably not Pentecostal. Gladys Herman drinks what Alice at first believes is communion wine but what Beth correctly says is grape juice, and not many Protestant groups drank grape juice at communion exclusively, adults and children, that long after Prohibition except Baptists and the Christian & Missionary Alliance. At the same time, the congregants seem to have a higher opinion of the Virgin Mary than any Protestant group except Lutherans.
* ''Literature/{{Redwall}}'': Abbey. Aside from being a monastery, no religion is mentioned.
** Possibly a different trope: it's almost an Abbey to St. Martin...
** However, the nearby church is to St. Ninian, a Catholic and Anglican saint. This was later retconned out of existence (though that does create a plot hole about why there are church mice, or why they even have the ''concept'' of a church without religion).
* The murder mystery anthology ''Board to Death''. All three of the heroes are openly Christian, but attend specifically non-denominational churches.
* The climax of book 5 of ''Literature/AlexRider'' takes place in a Church of Forgotten Saints (but technically it's an oratory).
* Lampshaded in-story in Creator/GKChesterton's "The Vampire of the Village". Since "the English know nothing about the Church of England", it takes the Catholic priest Literature/FatherBrown to spot that the [[TheVicar village parson's]] purported doctrinal beliefs are an implausible mish-mash of High Church and Low Church opinions, indicating that he is really a [[BadHabits criminal impostor]].
* In the Maggody mystery series, the actual denomination of Brother Verber's Voice of the Almighty Lord Assembly Hall is never stated. The narrative shows Brother Verber being suspicious of Catholics, Methodists, Unitarians, Lutherans and Episcopalians at various times, and there's a Baptist church down the highway that competes with him for followers, but the Assembly Hall's exact affiliation is never specified. (Of course, Verber's "theological training" was via a Las Vegas correspondence course that he seems barely to have passed, so it's possible ''he'' doesn't know either.)

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]
* ''Series/SeventhHeaven'' revolved around the family of a minister, and as you would expect, church and churchgoing often figured prominently in the story. They're clearly Protestants, but the denomination is not named.
* On ''Series/{{Amen}}'', the church's denomination (if it had one) was never mentioned. The church council was called the 'board of deacons', and there is no mention of a bishop, synod, or other higher judicature; this indicates that it was Baptist, probably more specifically [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_God_in_Christ COGIC]].
* Cicely's community church in Series/NorthernExposure falls into this. Chris presides, after a mail-order ordination in "The First Church of Truth and Beauty".... and what his theology is, or whether he even has one, is anyone's guess.
* A church Rick Grimes enters in ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' appears on the outside to be a Baptist-style church (the marquee says "Southern Baptist Church of Holy Light")... but there is a very large Roman Catholic crucifix hanging on the back wall. Either this was a St. Genericus church or the writers [[ChristianityIsCatholic didn't know better]]. (Or both.)
* The church the characters on ''Series/TheAndyGriffithShow'' attend has a preacher who is never shown praying or talking about Jesus, and although occasionally a scene in the church will have the congregation singing a hymn, when the choir is shown, they're usually rehearsing a secular choir number. Andy is mentioned as being on the church board.
* An episode of ''Series/DharmaAndGreg'' took place in a hospital that sported a chapel complete with rotating religious symbol on the dais, so that anyone could use it.
* In ''{{Series/Eureka}}'', some of the town's {{Mad Scientist}}s attend the First Church of Eureka. The church has a female pastor but, other than that, there is no indication of what denomination they belong to.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' has a chapel on the USS Enterprise, which is fittingly devoid of any specific denomination. It is seen a few times through the course of the show.
* Grimm has this twice. In the episode with the Wesen church, although the building seemed to be of an established main-line Protestant church (Presbyterian or Methodist), the congregation seems to be organized like an independent Evangelical church. Also, in the episode where the boy was 'possessed' he was being exorcised by what looked like a Catholic ritual by two clergymen vested like Roman Catholic priests, but the church was laid out like a Protestant church.
* What church, exactly, did the Ingalls family attend on LittleHouseOnThePrairie? Reverend Alden never gave a clue.
** Lutheran, most likely. Reverend Alden referred to his bishop on occasion, and he's clearly not Catholic or Episcopalian (he would have been referred to as a priest). He could conceivably be Methodist, but Walnut Grove is in Minnesota which was then, as it is now, strongly Lutheran country. The real life Rev. Alden was a Congregationalist, but on the show he could not have been, since Congregationalists have no bishops.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''VideoGame/MysteryCaseFiles: Shadow Lake'' gives us the Bitterford Community Church. In the US, a name like that implies Generic Protestant, and the building is a typical New England church; white-painted wood, clear glass in the windows instead of stained glass. It also has two [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icon icon-style]] paintings at the front of the sanctuary, and the hidden-object scene set there has you looking for bottles of holy water. The psychic vision linked to that area show the pastor (normally a Protestant title) in Roman Catholic vestments and collar.
* Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams of ''Franchise/MassEffect'' explicitly does believe in God (she at one point queries Shepard on whether s/he has a problem with it, implying she's gotten flak for her faith in the past), but which exact religion or denomination she belongs to is never stated.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* For a long time on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', the First Church of Springfield wasn't identified with any particular Christian sect; WordOfGod says it was specifically designed with conflicting features, for example, Rev. Lovejoy wearing Anglican robes with a Catholic collar. Eventually it was labeled as a fake denomination, "the Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism."
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' went in the opposite direction and has an amalgamated world church that [[InterfaithSmoothie merges every religion together]].

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* TruthInTelevision. Many chapels in RealLife hospitals, airports, and other public facilities play this trope straight, to accommodate the needs of multiple denominations.
* Creator/BenjaminFranklin wrote about a building designed to accommodate preachers of all religions in his [[http://www.earlyamerica.com/lives/franklin/chapt10/ autobiography]]. This building was created after a wandering Irish preacher was forbidden to preach in existing churches and had to preach outside, drawing huge crowds. Franklin said that "even if the Mufti of [[IstanbulNotConstantinople Constantinople]] were to send a missionary to preach [[{{UsefulNotes/Islam}} Mohammedanism]] to us, he would find a pulpit at his service." He might've been exaggerating a bit (colonial Pennsylvania had what was then a very progressive guarantee of religious freedom, but only monotheists had any rights and only Christians could hold office; only Rhode Island had an absolute guarantee of religious freedom before the Revolution), but the point was well taken.
* Unitarian Universalism allows people of any religion or of no religion to be a part of their community and their churches are designed to reflect this.
* Many Protestant and Evangelical denominations (especially those with roots in Calvinism, Quakerism, or Anabaptism) either place a fairly low value on religious symbolism or are openly hostile to what they regard as idolatry, so they can appear to be rather generic when compared to symbol-rich traditions such as [[ChristianityIsCatholic Catholicism]] and Orthodoxy. Those expecting a house of worship to be filled with icons, statues, paintings, vestments, and altars may be surprised to find a church building that looks like almost any other community center, with maybe at most a cross, some pews, and stained glass windows with geometric patterns. Newly constructed churches (or more austere denominations) might not even have those.
* The "generic church" thing has gone so far in Europe that quite a few churches that were shut down in recent years due to lack of a congregation have been "profanized" and now serve as community gathering places, warehouses or whatever. Some cannot even be recognized as former churches any more. The German Lutherans for instance don't build any steeples in the rare cases they still build new churches.
* In many historically Protestant countries in Europe, there are numerous formerly Catholic or Greek Orthodox churches that have been converted to the local dominant brand of Protestantism after the fact. This means that their decor tends to be a mixture of the original denomination's preserved for historical purposes, and the current one's.