- "They say you can't grow grass and flowers in Midgar. But for some reason, the flowers have no trouble blooming here. I love it here."
Sector 5 Church (スラム教会, Suramu Kyōkai?), also commonly referred to as Aerith's Church, is a presumably deserted church in Final Fantasy VII located is in Sector 5 of Midgar's slums. Aerith Gainsborough has succeeded in growing Flowers in the church, a remarkable feat considering the local Mako Reactors leave the soil barren. Flowers also grow near Aerith's house, so the church is not the only place in the Midgar slums which soil is fertile. It is unknown which religion the church is part of, though the architecture appears to be based on Christian churches.
- "You don't see a lot of flowers in Midgar".
"They only grow here. Although, I planted some outside my house, too."
- —Zack and Aerith
Zack Fair, SOLDIER First Class, falls from an unfinished section of the Sector 5 plate into the church. He awakens and meets Aerith and tells her he must repay her with a date for saving him. Zack continues to visit the church to spend time with Aerith, up until he is sent on the mission to Nibelheim.
One day, Zack and Aerith witness an Angeal Copy, a wolf-creature with wings, in the church defending the duo from Shinra Electric Power Company's battle robots. Deeming the creature not dangerous, Aerith and Zack let it rest in the church. It is implied the creature stayed around the church till the end of its life, as Aerith uses it to send her final letter to Zack.
In Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, informed by their Shinra contact of the existence of a Cetra descendant named Aerith Gainsborough, AVALANCHE attempts to capture her to protect the location of the Promised Land.
The Player Turk, having gotten lost in the Midgar slums, has found his/her way to Elmyra Gainsborough's house where they come across Aerith who runs away. As AVALANCHE arrives Aerith returns and she is protected by the Turk much to her surprise.
Hiding in the Sector 5 slums Aerith loses her White Materia, and as the Player Turk goes to retrieve it, Shears locates them and disposes of the Player Turk, taking Aerith to the Sector 5 Church where Fuhito and Elfé await.
As they attempt to convince Aerith to tell them the location of the Promised Land, Aerith notes an ancient voice coming from within Elfé is in pain. Elfé is confused by this revelation, and Fuhito becomes flustered and attempts to divert the subject. When Shears notices the Player Turk eavesdropping a fight breaks out in the church. Aerith prevents Shears and Fuhito from killing the Turk claiming she is defending her flower bed from further harm. During the commotion something seems to cause pain to Elfé, who is forced to withdraw along with the rest of AVALANCHE.
As the Player Turk and Aerith leave the church, Tseng, who has been assigned for some time to capture Aerith, arrives in another attempt to convince Aerith to work with Shinra. Misunderstanding, the Player Turk prevents Tseng from seeing Aerith as she runs back home.
Cloud falls from the Sector 5 Reactor down into the church and is found by Aeris, who remarks on Cloud's similarities with Zack. When Reno, a member of the Turks leading a group of Shinra soldiers, attempts to kidnap Aeris, she requests Cloud to be her bodyguard.
The pair exit through an opening in the roof, and onto the roofs of the Midgar slums.
Upon the party's return to Midgar following finding the Sector 5 Key at the Bone Village, the church can be explored and a "ghost" of Aeris can be seen with two children, but disappears when approached.
The church serves a pivotal role in curing the Geostigma disease. Even after Aerith's death, the flowers continue blooming thanks to the Lifestream flowing beneath the flower bed. Cloud lives in the church for a short period during his exile and search for forgiveness, and stores Materia in a chest in the church for some time before this.
Tifa engages in a fight against Loz in the church when she and Marlene go looking for Cloud, and later Aerith's Limit Break, Great Gospel, is activated in the church during Cloud's battle with Kadaj, curing Cloud's Geostigma.
Cloud demonstrates the healing powers of the water pooled in the church by curing Denzel of his Geostigma in a baptismal-like ceremony, after which several other children jump into the pool as well. He looks up and sees Aerith crouching by some other children, similar to the aforementioned ghost. As she stands and walks to the doorway, she turns back to make sure Cloud will be all right, and steps into a white light with Zack. Cloud nods and responds he will be fine, as he is not alone anymore.
As Cloud and Aeris escape the church, Aeris joins the party as a playable character. During the fight with the Shinra soldiers, Cloud can push several barrels on top of the church, knocking the enemies down from above in order to reduce the number of enemy encounters Aeris must face. This affects Aeris's affection value with Cloud, a factor determining an outcome of an event later on in the game.
The player needs to push the barrels in the right order: The leftmost first, the upper barrel second, and the rightmost barrel last. If the player waits too long with pushing a barrel or Aeris is forced into battle. If the player pushes the wrong barrel Aeris must battle an enemy anyway, and Cloud can also prompt Aeris to fight without pushing any barrels.
- Main article: Aeris's Ghost
After coming back to Midgar in disc 2 onwards, the player can find an apparition of Aeris on the flower bed. It only appears once, and once triggered can never been seen again, but numerous glitches surround this area and can be confused with this "ghost".
|"Flowers Blooming in the Church"|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- has an entirely new arrangement, titled "The Burdened".
During the ending of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which takes place in the church, the song "Cloud Smiles" plays.
- In an optional dialogue sequence with Cid in Final Fantasy VII, he says, "That reminds me of a test rocket that landed in the Midgar Slums long ago. I remember how relieved I was when I heard it never blew up". The crashed rocket in the church is most likely the rocket that Cid was referring to.
- The entire fighting sequence in the church between Loz and Tifa in Advent Children has been duplicated in the music video for the Korean pop singer Ivy MV's "Temptation of Sonata", albeit with minor changes, such as small parts of the fighting choreography being altered due to the absence of Loz's Dual Hound, and Tifa's victory by snapping Loz's neck at the end. The music video was banned on TV and singer Ivy was sued by Square Enix.
- A possible real-world Christian inspiration for the church is the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, which was built after Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego nearby in December 1531 and led him to the top of Tepeyac Hill, where he found Castilian roses, which were blooming in spite of them not being native to Mexico and out of season, to take to the area's Spanish bishop, Fray Juan de Zumarraga, as proof.