A meeting house (meetinghouse, meeting-house) is a building where religious and sometimes public meetings take place.
The colonial meeting house in America was typically the first public building built as new villages sprang up. A meeting-house had a dual purpose as a place of worship and for public discourse, but sometimes only for "...the service of God." As the towns grew and the separation of church and state in the United States matured the buildings which were used as the seat of local government were called a town-house or town-hall.
Many nonconformist Christian denominations distinguish between a
The nonconformist meeting houses generally do not have steeples, with the term "steeplehouses" being used to describe traditional or establishment religious buildings. Christian denominations which use the term "meeting house" to refer to the building in which they hold their worship include:
In England, a meeting house is distinguished from a church or cathedral by being a place of worship for dissenters or nonconformists.