How to Decorate a Church Altar

Use candles, flowers and religious symbols to decorate the altar.

There are many events on the church calendar that require the altar to be decorated including Christmas, Easter, weddings, and even funerals. When decorating the altar of a church you should avoid using decorations that are too flamboyant and will draw away the attention from the speaker. Decorations should be moderate and respectful of the church’s calendar.

Place a cloth on the altar. White is a common color. Different colored cloths may be placed underneath the white cloth depending on the event, for example a red cloth might be placed as an accent for Christmas.

Surround the altar with candles. Candles should be placed around the altar so that they complement the design of the space. Candles should never interfere with the congregation’s ability to see the front of the church. Care should be taken with the placement of candles and candleabras, as they should be out of the usual pathways of the speaker to avoid the possiblity of accidental contact.

Add flower arrangements around the altar. As with candles, the flower arrangements should not obstruct the altar from view. They should be simplistic, and should never be placed on the altar which is strictly for objects used during the service.

Place a statue or painting of an important religious symbol. Significant symbols should be displayed in the church and it should be located in the center of the altar in plain view of the congregation.

Decorate the church with various items that represent special religious events. During the advent season there could be an advent wreath with candles. At Christmas, a nativity scene could be displayed and poinsettias could decorate the altar.

Elyse James began writing professionally in 2006 after deciding to pursue a career in journalism. She has written for "The Algonquin Times" as a general assignment reporter and published blogs and articles on Webcitybeat. James holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Ottawa.