Religion, denomination, sect, cult, communion, faith, creed, persuasion, church can all denote a system of religious belief and worship or the body of persons who accept such a system.
Religion, the usual uncolored term, may apply to a system (as Christianity or Buddhism) which represents the beliefs and worship of all those who accept a given revelation or to one (as Anglicanism) which represents the beliefs and practiced worship of a specific body of those who accept the same revelation.
Denomination basically applies to a body of people holding common and distinctive religious beliefs and called by a particular name so as to distinguish them from a more inclusive body.
Sect is applied to a group cut off from a larger body or, more specifically, from an established or a parent church through discontent with some matter of doctrine or observance; thus, one speaks of the Christian religion as comprising all who accept the New Testament as divine revelation, but of the various sects into which the seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century Protestant denominations were divided.
Cult though widely varied in use is typically applied to a sometimes nontheistic system of beliefs and ritual or to its adherents. It is likely to suggest a great or excessive devotion and a fervent observance by a usually small group of what appear bizarre or spurious or strangely foreign and unseemly rites to persons who follow other beliefs.
Communion stresses not difference from others but union in essentials (as of religious belief and discipline); the term can apply not only to a large body <the Roman Catholic communion > but to one comprising several smaller bodies or organizations (as national churches) which exhibit such union or to small sects and cults isolated by their special beliefs or practices.
Faith and creed apply to a system of belief and worship that is clearly formulated and definitely accepted.
Persuasion may suggest the conviction produced by evangelism and exhortation; it is frequently equivalent to faith or denomination.
Church usually has implications that closely relate it to denomination. Distinctively it suggests a clearly defined character, both as a system of beliefs or as a body of persons, and often carries a stronger connotation of organization than denomination carries; it may imply specifically Christian as contrasted with non-Christian worship.