Institutions of faith organize Followers, channel assistance into a community, amplify the glory and majesty of Principal and the faith in general. They may be informal, localized, or regional. Institutions are just political structures of Faith – Church, Orders, Cults, Sects and congregations brought together in common purpose to represent a faith in a community. The wielding/use of a well recognized institution’s Divine Item may also be the equivalent of a Prestige Marker in perception. Holy Symbols are both a conduit to the Principal they represent, a recognizable symbol on which to draw attention, and a symbol indicating that one needs only true conviction and all else good will come (“the faith provides all I need”). Empowered divine places, divine institutions (having their own Tenets), and divine individuals often share a Binding using Sigilry. Associated items most often use a Bond of Attunement.
Large scale – national and global – organized religions are often recognized as “Churches”. Churches are organized around a set of beliefs, tenets, specific goals, service and rewards. Individual Divine Principals have their followers who are utterly dedicated to them and provide a symbol personal power achieved through Grace,
whereas churches are focused on building guides for the community and political representation with other [temporal] authorities. Churches tend to create institutions in the community, building structures and edifices to communicate the power of the faith to the populace. There are constant and stable, use easy symbols and icons to remind and reinforce, build houses of worship to foster community, and disseminate the basic message of the faith. They also provide a clear manifestation of divine authority through hierarchical power structures. These governing bodies make the decisions regarding the direction of the church and associated community and how it uses its resources. In most cases, the church is closely tied with the political authorities and attempt to accomplish, as best as possible, the aims of the faith. A church may actually aggregate the powers and teachings of other churches or deities, extending powers and authority as defined by the relationship with those other entities. Church officials do not necessarily have to achieve a high state of grace, focusing instead on the guidance aspect within the community – those who can organize and direct a large populace to promote the faith. They are more likely to focus on skills and powers which will allow them to promote the faith and battle its enemies in the areas of education, politics, and social aspects rather than strictly power.
The Tithe is an important part of the success of the institution.
Institutions are typically organized into an official clergy, which have dominion of the Congregations of the Laity. These are offices and ranks within the organization that administer but temporal affairs and spiritual ones. The progressively higher the order, the more authority they wield and the more weight their word is given. Nominally, the life of the clergy is one of sacrifice – one forgoes personal glory, wealth, and renown and shifts all of their accomplishments and successes to the name of the institution and faith it represents. These rankings are generic in name and power, but useful for denoting hierarchical rank and privilege: Penitent, Acolyte, Sister/Brother, Mother/Father, and Matriarch/Patriarch. They represent the most fundamental level of administrative service. Each rank carries with it advantages, requirements, drawbacks and responsibilities. Like Follower status, it may dictate what powers and features may or must be taken in order to assume its rank. Each rank is marked by a Ceremonial advancement which is backed by the existing political body – a character must petition and be accepted by the higher authorities of the faith to advance within the political structure. Just because they meet the requirements, does not automatically advance them. In many cases, character’s must prove themselves in some ordeal. There may also only be allows a certain number of individuals within the higher positions of the faith’s political structure, limiting the advancement of the character.
Houses of Institutional Presence; Sanctuary should not be confused with Institutions of the Followers.