The first complete English bible was the Tyndale bible in about 1524. The Tyndale bible did not use the word "church" anywhere in its pages, but instead used the word "congregation." Sometime after the publishing of the Tyndale bible, the word congregation was replaced with the word "church", which is derived from the word "Circe".
The Oxford English Dictionary gives this etymology for the word church: Church - Old English: circe etc. = Old Saxon: kirka .
Three quotes giving more information about the etymology of the word "church". The first is from Wikipedia: Quote Church Wikipedia The etymology of this word is generally assumed to be from the Greek, kurios oikos (house of the Lord); but this is most improbable, as the word existed in all the Celtic dialects long before the introduction of the Greek. No doubt the word means ‘a circle.’ The places of worship among the German and Celtic nations were always circular (witness circular Stonehenge, the most ancient stone megaliths on earth). Compare Anglo-Saxon 'circe', a small church, with 'circol', a circle. In Scotland it is called "Kirk" and in Gemany it is "Kirche," in England it is the word "Circe" (the "c" having a "k" sound).
"Kirke/Circe" was also the name of a Goddess. Kirke or Circe was the daughter of the Sun god, who was famous for taming wild animals for her circus. Quote Circe[/size] [www.paleothea.com] Circe was an evil, or perhaps just cruelly quirky, sorceress. She was very powerful and turned all of Odysseus' men into swine (they bearly escaped). She also had the power to purify and cleanse the Argonauts of the murder of Apsyrtus. Her name means "Falcon" and that seems pretty appropriate for her character. Circe was the daughter of Helios (the Sun) and Perse, and was the aunt of Medea. She was dangerous because she was so powerful and so bored.
Quote Circe, Kirke, Kirche and Kerk
This is the word used in most English versions as a rendering of the New Testament's Greek word ekklesia. Ekklesia really means "a calling out", a meeting or a gathering. Ekklesia is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew qahal, which means an assembly or a congregation. Neither ekklesia nor qahal means a building. Tyndale, in his translation, uniformly translated ekklesia as "congregation" and only used the word "churches" to translate Acts 19:37 for heathen temples! Whence the word "church", then? Ecclesiastical sources give the origin as kuriakon or kyriakon in Greek. However, to accept this. one has to stretch your imagination in an attempt to see any resemblance. Also, because kuriakon means a building (the house of Kurios=Lord), and not a gathering or meeting of people, as the words ekklesia and qahal imply, therefore this explanation can only be regarded as distorted, even if it is true.
Our common dictionaries, however, are honest in revealing to us the true origin. They all trace the word back to its Old English or Anglo-Saxon root, namely circe. And the origin of circe? Any encyclopaedia, or dictionary of mythology, will reveal who Circe was. She was the goddess-daughter of Helios, the Sun-deity! Again, another form of Sun-worship, this time the daughter of the Sun-deity, had become mixed with the Messianic Faith.
Some interesting facts emerge from the study of the word circe. The word is related to "circus", "circle", "circuit", "Circean", "circulate", and the various words starting with "circum-". The Latin pronunciation could have been "sirke" or "sirse". The Old English word circe may have been pronounced similarly to "kirke", or even "sirse". However, Circe was in fact originally a Greek goddess where her name was written as: Kirke, and pronounced as such—just as in numerous similar cases of words of Greek origin, e.g. cyst and kustis, cycle and kuklos, cylinder and kulindros. The word "church" is known in Scotland as kirk, and in German as Kirche and in Netherlands as kerk. These words show their direct derivation from the Greek Kirke even better than the English "church". However, even the Old English circe for "church", reveals its origin. Let us rather use the Scriptural "Assembly" or "Congregation", and renounce the word that is derived from Circe, the daughter of the Sun-deity!