During World War III in 2053, several hundred Human soldiers and civilians sought shelter inside the church from atomic bombs. Before they were to be destroyed, the church was enveloped in bright light, heralding the arrival of an angelic being who transported the church and its occupants to another planet, which they named Terralysium.
The occupants of the church built a settlement, New Eden, around it. The church was given stained glass windows reflecting its congregation's new syncretic religion and history of being saved by the "angel". Adjacent to the church was a small cemetary with tombstones.
The church's basement contained a number of relics from Earth, including a transmitter that the original soldiers had used to send a distress call. The existence of this transmitter, jury-rigged to continue to transmit as a beacon, was only known by Jacob's family, which was descended from scientists and had tended to it for generations.
To the descendants of the "First Saved", the church became a shrine known as the "White Church". Eventually, its battery units were exhausted and without electric lights, pilgrimages to the church dwindled.
In 2257, an away team from USS Discovery arrived at the church after being led to Terralysium by a red burst. After learning about the Human colonists, Captain Christopher Pike provided Jacob with a power cell in exchange for a helmet camera that had recorded the angel. With the cell, Jacob restored the lights of the church. (DIS: "New Eden")
White Church religion
The religion centered on the White Church was cobbled together from the primary faiths of Earth, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto and Wicca. A new scripture was present at the church, which consisted of pre-existing writings that were heavily edited. In this religion, prayer existed, as well as pilgrimages to the shrine that was the White Church. A senior figure was the All-Mother, and celebrations included the harvest moon.
The religion also placed emphasis on the "salvation" brought by the angel that had transported the First Saved to Terralysium. New stained glass windows had been installed in the White Church shortly after the arrival, commemorating this event. (DIS: "New Eden")