church of a monastery which is administered by an abbot or of a convent
which is administered by an abbess.
ceremonial cleansing of communion vessels or
the hands of the celebrant. It can also mean
more generally a washing or cleansing as a religious act.
declaration in public service or privately by a bishop
or priest, announcing forgiveness by God to those
who have confessed their sins and repented.
giving up of something important, such as food or recreation, in remembrance
of God's gift to his people. For example, giving up of meat on Fridays
person who assists the priest at the altar in the Eucharist The term
is based on the Greek word meaning, "to follow." Acolytes
follow the Cross in the procession and recession
and assist the priest in worship. An acolyte lights and sometimes carries
candles, and helps in the preparation of communion.
the Latin advenire: "to arrive." Advent is the first
season of the Church year. Advent
begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends
Christmas day. The color of Advent is usually purple--though blue is
used as well.
wreath with four or five candles used during the season of Advent.
Four candles are placed in a circle, and a fifth is sometimes placed
in the center. On the first Sunday in Advent, one candle is lit, two
on the second Sunday, three on the third, and so on. On Christmas
day, the fifth candle is lit.
two Latin words: angus, meaning "lamb" and dei,
meaning "of God." The term refers to a three-part litany said
or sung after the fraction in the Holy Communion
center walkway of a church which divides the pews,
extending from the narthex to the chancel.
white or off-white gown worn by many priests or
clergy when celebrating communion.. A variation
of the alb called the cassock-alb has become the standard Eucharistic
garment for many Episcopal, Lutheran and Roman Catholic clergy.
Nov. 1st of all the saints of the Church and those
we know who've joined the saints in worship at the heavenly realm. Originally
known as "All Hallows Day," and followed "all hallows
eve" (Halloween). The color is white.
gifts made to the poor. According to the canons,
the loose offering on the first Sunday of the month should go into an
Alms account, or Priest's Discretionary Fund.
table of stone or wood on which the bread and wine used in the Communion
service are consecrated. Referred to in the
prayer book as the "Holy Table."
special lay service group in a church who prepare
the altar and maintain the furnishings in a church
building. The altar guild usually supervises all seasonal
church decorations and is usually responsible for all flower arrangements.
side aisle in a church building, between the pews
and the side walls, most often used for special processions.
smaller pulpit or platform from which Scriptures are read. In some churches,
a replacement for the pulpit and lectern.
the Hebrew, meaning, "So be it." Episcopalians say "ah-men,"
while most other communions say "eh-men."
word which simply means "English." The Episcopal Church is
part of the worldwide Anglican Communion -- a communion of Churches
around the world that has its origins in the Church of
a style of worship which is noted for its beauty, majesty and formality,
but also a fundamental understanding of the nature of the Church
and the sacramental way that the church relates to everyday life. Dates
largely to the Oxford Movement in England in the 19th century.
See High Church.
first part of the Eucharist service, including
The Peace, and ending before the offertory.
In the prayer book, the ante-communion is referred
to as the "The Word of God."
decorative cloth which hangs from the pulpit or lectern; or the cloth
on the front of an altar, sometimes called a "frontal."
hymn or choral piece sung only by a choir.
the Greek words anti, meaning "against," and phone,
meaning "sound." An antiphon is literally a song sung back
and forth by two choirs, or by one choir divided into two sections.
In the Episcopal Church, the Kyrie and the Sursum
Corda are two examples of antiphons. The familiar exchange "The
Lord be with you" - "And also with you" (Rite
I: "And with thy spirit") is also an antiphon.
term used by most of the Anglican Communion (In
the Episcopal church, the titular bishop is referred to as the "Presiding
Bishop") to define a bishop in charge of a
group of dioceses in a geographical area, or a
equivalent of a Presiding Bishop for the Church
of England. Anglicans acknowledge the Archbishop of Canterbury to
be the spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican
See also Canterbury.
deacon who is part of a bishop's staff and who
has some supervision over missions. Archdeacons
are referred to as "The Venerable" [The Ven.]: for example,
the Venerable Wilson Lyman. The title "Reverend" is not used
if Venerable is used.
Wednesday beginning of the season of Lent, often observed
with a period of fasting and spiritual preparation. In the Ash Wednesday
liturgy, the celebrant usually imposes ashes
on a person's forehead as a mark of his or her mortality ("Remember
that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.") In some parishes,
ashes are often burned palms saved from the previous year's Palm
small cupboard in the chancel area of a church or in a sacristy
where the reserved sacrament is kept. Also spelled
sacrament that celebrates a person's joining of the Church.
At our baptisms we are cleansed from sin, and adopted by God. Since
we can only be adopted once, baptism is a final, non-repeatable act.
The Episcopal Church practices both adult and infant baptism. One can
be baptized by being immersed, by being sprinkled, or by having water
poured on them. Baptism and Holy Communion are
the two great sacraments of the Episcopal Church.
single most important book for Episcopalians, which expresses the Word
of God. Three or more Bible readings are included as lessons in a typical
worship service. Over 80% of the prayer book comes
directly from the Bible.
the Greek word episcopas, meaning overseer. A Bishop is a member
of the highest of the orders of ministry in
the Church. In the Episcopal Church, there are five kinds of Bishops
- Presiding, Diocesan, Assistant,
Coadjutor, and Suffragan.
No bishop is "higher" in rank than another. The five kinds
merely define their function. Bishops are the only order allowed to
wear purple shirts, and their crosses are usually gold, while priests
crosses are usually silver.
bishop who assists the diocesan bishop in overseeing a diocese.
An assistant bishop is chosen by the diocesan bishop (not elected by
the people of the diocese), and was already consecrated as a bishop
by another diocese prior to serving as an assistant.
priest who is elected by a particular diocese and
consecrated to become the next bishop of that diocese
when the diocesan bishop retires. The co-adjutor serves as an assistant
bishop until the retirement of the diocesan,
and takes over the diocesan responsibilities at that point.
primary bishop of a diocese, elected by the people
of the diocese he or she serves. Sometimes referred
to as "the diocesan." The diocesan of Minnesota is The Right
Reverend James L. Jelinek, Bishop of Minnesota.
bishop elected by the people in a diocese to serve as the diocesan
assistant. The Suffragan does not have the right to succeed as the diocesan,
but may be elected as the diocesan bishop in a new election.
Of Common Prayer
worship book of the Anglican Church since its
inception in 1549. Commonly called the "prayer book," commonly
abbreviated as the BCP, the Book of Common Prayer is a collection of
classic and contemporary prayers, devotions, services and psalms designed
to allow the entire Church to worship in common
union. The current prayer book was last revised in the 1970's.
1928 Prayer Book - A version of the Episcopal Book of Common
Prayer, in use from 1928 to 1976. Some services from this prayer book
were modified and inserted in the current prayer book (1979) as "Rite
I" services. The 1928 Book of common Prayer was the last of
the American prayer books to offer nationwide unified common Sunday
worship (only one form available for Eucharist
and one form for Morning Prayer).
1979 Prayer Book - The single largest update
of a prayer book in Episcopal Church history. Begun in the late 1960's
with numerous and often controversial trial liturgies, compiled in 1976
as the Proposed Book of Common Prayer, and ratified by the 1979 General
Convention. The book attempted to retain traditional Episcopal
liturgies while incorporating many innovative forms of worship. The
Convention mandated its exclusive usage, thus alienating many traditional
parishioners who, in the 2000's, still refer to the book as the "new"
prayer book. The book has the distinction of being copyright free, so
that its pages may be used by anyone at any time.
Rite I, Rite II, Rite
of the two elements of communion,
signifying to us the Body of Christ. As Scripture reminds us, "And
as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it,
and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body."
of three popular designations to define the style of worship in a particular
Episcopal church. "Broad church" worship is vaguely midway
between low and high,
and may or may not include elaborate liturgy, incense, and/or sanctus
bells. A generation ago, an irreverent saying defined the three styles
of Episcopal worship as follows: "High
and crazy; broad and hazy; low and lazy."
High Church, Low Church.
the Greek byrsa, meaning, "a bag." A burse is one of
the furnishings of the altar for communion,
and is a pocket case made from two squares of some rigid material covered
in cloth. The burse sits on top of the chalice,
paten and veil, and serves to hold
a corporal. Often, the burse also serves to hide
an extra purificator.
term comes from the Greek word kannon, that means "measuring
rod or ruler." In the Church we speak of canon
law, the canon of Scripture, and people called canons. The canon
of Scripture refers to the books of the Bible that
are accepted as genuine and inspired by God. When used in reference
to people, a canon is the title of a priest who either serves on the
staff of a cathedral, or who has exhibited exemplary
service to a diocese.
collection of laws that serve as the rules of our Episcopal Church.
The canons may be (and always are) modified by each General
Convention. Each diocese also has canon law,
but a diocese may not pass a canon that conflicts with national canons.
top diocese in the Church of England, and by tradition, the entire Anglican
Church. Although all the branches of the Anglican Church are autonomous,
each maintains a traditional connection with England, and therefore
looks to the Archbishop of Canterbury as the spiritual leader of the
Church. It was at Canterbury cathedral (officially
titled, the Cathedral Church of Christ) that St. Thomas Becket was assassinated
by King Henry's friends in 1170. Soon after Thomas' death, pilgrimages
to his Canterbury shrine began. (The shrine was destroyed by Henry VIII
in 1538) It was one of these pilgrimages that served as the setting
for Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
black robe worn by priests, usually with a white
over-garment called a surplice. A Canon
may wear a black cassock with red piping, or (with permission) may wear
a purple cassock. Deans and archdeacons
may wear black cassocks with red or purple piping.
Greek word meaning "seat." A cathedra is special sanctuary
chair only used by a bishop. The chair remains empty
except during bishop's visitations and serves as a visible reminder
that the parish priest represents the bishop, and that the bishop is
the spiritual head of the diocese.
church in which the diocesan bishop's throne
or cathedra is kept, and often the gathering place
for many of the diocese's official functions and major worship celebrations.
If the cathedral is a parish church (i.e. has a
congregation of worshipers) their rector is given the title of Dean
of the Cathedral.
word usually thought of as a reference to the Roman Catholic Church,
however "catholic" literally means "universal" or
"found everywhere." (from the Greek word katholikos,
meaning "general" or "universal") In the Nicene
Creed, we say we believe in the holy catholic church.
person who leads the Holy Eucharist. In a Eucharist,
the celebrant is the bishop, or someone who the
bishop appoints to lead the service for him. In a service of Morning
Prayer, the celebrant may be either lay or clergy.
the Latin, calix, meaning "cup." A chalice is the cup
used to contain the wine used at Communion.
person (ordained or lay)
who administers the chalice during Communion.
the Latin cancelli, meaning "a grating" or "lattice."
Chancel is the name for the section of a church building between the
nave and the sanctuary; usually
the place the choir sits; sometimes also called the "choir".
It is also usually a few steps higher than the nave.
exactly singing, nor reading, chanting is a recitation midway between
singing and reading. Chanting originated in the monastic orders in the
early centuries of the Church.
Latin, cappella, meaning "a cape." When the kings of
France went on military campaigns, they would carry the cape of St.
Martin with them. The tent or other temporary structure that housed
the cappella was called a chapel. A chapel now refers to a small
building or room set apart for worship and meditation.
clergy person in charge of a chapel or one who ministers to a small
group of people.
Latin, casula, meaning "little house". A chasuble
is a type of vestment worn by the celebrant
during Communion. It is usually oval in shape,
with a hole for the head to pass through. The chasuble may have been
derived from an ancient Roman cloak only worn outdoors and shaped like
a tent (hence the name, "little house"). Many Low
Church clergy will tell you the that chasuble's
liturgical origins were from an identically shaped
garment that Hebrew priests would wear to keep blood off them as they
were sacrificing animals.
long, sleeveless coat-like vestment worn by a
Latin, chorus, meaning a group of singers. A choir is group of
lay people (voluntary or paid) that help lead the singing during a worship
service and sometimes offer special anthems to enhance
worship. The word "choir" can also used to define the chancel,
the part of the church building where the choir sits.
mixture of olive oil and balsam, and sometimes used at baptisms, confirmations,
ordinations and some blessings of altars and other
church fixtures. Chrism is not the same as other holy oils such as those
used for the unction of the sick. No balsam is
added to oil used for unction.
being December 25th and the day Christians mark as the celebration
of the birth of Jesus (Christ's Mass), Christmas is also a Church season,
running from December 25th to Epiphany
(January 6th). It is this twelve-day period that is sometimes
referred to as the Twelve Days of Christmas.
English word comes from the Greek word kurios, meaning, "master"
or "lord." A form of this word, kuriakon, had the meaning
pertaining to, or belonging to the lord." Originally,
the word referred to the building used by the Lord's people. However,
the French and other Romance languages get their word for church from
the another Greek word - ekklesia (lit. "called out")
- in French, eglise, which means an assembly of people. We use
both terms when speaking of the church; we speak of the building and
of the people inside the building. It is interesting to note that when
the Bible speaks of the church, the word used is ekklesia. The
Bible's authors never thought of the church as a building. When the
word is capitalized, it usually refers to the universal, or catholic
official name of the original Church in England, the Anglican Church.
During the reign of King Henry VIII, the Church, in England,
broke formal ties with Rome and became the Church OF England.
Sometimes referred to as the "C of E."
cup that resembles a chalice, except that is has
a removable lid. A ciborium is used to hold communion wafers
during the Eucharist
group of ordained people, consecrated
for unique ministry for a particular church or denomination.
adjective referring to ordained people and their work.
the Latin word collecta, meaning "assembly." The word
is normally used to refer to the prayer near the beginning of the Eucharist
that precedes the lessons. The collect was supposedly
designed to "collect" the thoughts of the lessons and bind
the thoughts together, back in the days when only one lesson and a Gospel
were read. A collect is actually any short prayer that contains an invocation,
a petition, and a pleading in Christ's Name (in that order).
plays an import part in the designation of seasons
and feasts in the Episcopal Church. Each
church season has a color associated with it. Advent
is purple (the color of preparation and penitence) or Marian Blue (in
honor of Mary), Christmas is white (the color
celebration), Epiphany is green (the color of
growth; growth of the gospel message from Jew to Gentile - re: the three
Wise Men), Lent is purple, Easter
is white, and the season after Pentecost is green
(for the growth of the church). Weddings and funerals are usually occasions
for white (the color of celebration) while Pentecost Sunday and ordinations
are red, to signify the presence of the Holy Spirit. Black is occasionally
used one day a year -- Good Friday.
the Latin word communicare, meaning "to share, or partake."
Communicants are the members of a local church who
do or who are eligible to receive communion.
The Christian sacramental meal, the Lord's Supper, commanded by our
Lord ("Do this in remembrance of me."). For centuries the
service used to celebrate the meal was called Holy Communion, but is
now more commonly called the "Eucharist"
in Episcopal churches. Also known as Mass in Roman
2. The term describing a group of autonomous churches who recognize
common ties and share a common faith, for example, the worldwide Anglican
monastic evening service used to end the day, and included for the first
time in the 1979 prayer book. It is pronounced
"comp-lyn," not "comp-line."
two Latin words - firmare, which means "to strengthen,"
and com, which adds force to the word. Literally to confirm is
to "strengthen greatly." At Confirmation a person makes a
mature, public confession that he or she accepts Jesus Christ as his
or her personal Lord and Savior, thus owning up to the vows his or her
godparents made for him or her at his or her baptism. The bishop then
lays his or her hands on the confirmand, and prays for the Holy Spirit
to "strengthen greatly" the person in the rest of his or her
life. Confirmation is considered to be one of the five sacramental acts,
or minor sacraments of the Church.
groups of people who make up the local church, or
the members of a local church who are present for worship.
meeting usually held annually, and usually held to elect new vestry
members and delegates to the diocesan convention.
Unlike some other denominations, the Episcopal Church
follows a representative form of government, instead of a pure democracy.
The work of the church is voted upon by the vestry, and not
by the congregation. The congregation votes to select vestry members
to represent them, as the vestry does their work.
word literally means, "to set aside." At the Eucharist,
the elements are consecrated before we partake
in communion. Consecration services include
dedications and ordinations.
diocesan meeting (usually held annually) to elect
officials, propose resolutions, and to pass laws to govern the diocesan
Middle English meaning "to cover." A cotta is a short, white
robe often worn by choir members and acolytes.
Latin: corpus, meaning "body." A square piece of linen
laid on top of the altar cloth at Communion.
small table or shelf on the epistle side
of the altar that holds the bread, wine and water
church architecture, the crossing is the main intersection of aisles
at the front of the church building. If viewed from above, these aisles
form a large cross. In a service, "crossing" refers to a hand
gesture of making a cross pattern on one's body; also a gesture made
by a priest or bishop over a
congregation or upon a person at death or baptism.
person in a religious procession who carries
a large cross (a processional cross), and
leads the procession into the church and the recession out of the church.
Latin, crux, meaning "cross." A crucifix is a cross
bearing the likeness of the body of Christ on it.
old French, crue, meaning "a vial or a glass." A cruet
is the vessel (glass or metal) used to hold the water and wine for the
Latino curatus, meaning "the person in charge." The
term should mean the "head priest" if literally interpreted,
but instead has come to refer to a transitional deacon
or an assistant to the rector. Usually a curate
is one who recently graduated from seminary, and is in the process of
"learning the ropes," or "curing."
Spanish word meaning "short course." Cursillo is contemporary,
popular movement of Christian renewal in the Episcopal Church and the
Roman Catholic Church. The Cursillo experience begins with an intense,
profound, and often life-changing weekend retreat, and continues with
periodic small group gatherings and special devotions. The word is pronounced
name for Morning Prayer.
lowest rank in the three orders of the Church's ministry. There are
two types of deacons - transitional deacons, who will soon be ordained
to the priesthood, and permanent deacons, who chose the order as a permanent
Latin, decanus, meaning "ten." Originally the title
was given to a minor official who served in some supervisory position
over ten people. The title is now used to refer to the resident clergyman
of a cathedral, the chief academic officer of
a college or seminary, or the head of a diocesan
deanery. If the dean is ordained, the title "The Very Reverend"
is appropriate; if the dean is a lay person, this
title is not used. The dean of the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul
is the Very Rev. William Mc Kechee. The dean of Trinity Episcopal School
For Ministry is the Very Rev. Peter C. Moore. The dean of Charleston
Deanery is the Very Rev. John B. Burwell.
geographical division of a diocese, roughly equivalent
to counties in a state, also sometimes known as a convocation or an
official church or diocesan delegate to a meeting.
A deputy may be clergy or lay,
but the term usually applies to the lay people chosen
to attend a convention.
state of being a deacon; also, the life of deacon-like service in the
unit of church organization; the spiritual domain under a bishop.
A diocese may contain many parishes and missions.
When used as an adjective, the term is diocesan. The diocese is most
often thought of as the primary and basic unit of the Church.
group that advises the bishop on diocesan
affairs. The Diocesan Council's duties are similar to the duties that
the vestry carries out at the parish
or Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society
corporation founded to carry out the work of the Episcopal
Church. The DFMS headquarters are at 815 Second Avenue in New York
festival that commemorates the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the third day after he was crucified. It is called Easter Day in our
prayer book, but has come to be called (redundantly)
Easter Sunday by the media, most laity, and some clergy, all of whom
ought to know better. Easter is a movable feast,
which means it does not always fall on the same day each year. Easter
is always the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal
equinox (first day of Spring). By this calculation, Easter could occur
anytime from March 22, to April 25. The length of Epiphany
and the Season after Pentecost, as well as the dates of Ash
Wednesday, Holy Week, Ascension Day, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday
are all determined by the date of Easter. Easter is also a Church season,
spanning the 40 days (six Sundays) after Easter, to Ascension Day.
bread and wine of Holy
6; a feast celebrating the visit of the Wise Men to the infant Jesus.
Epiphany marks the end of the twelve days of
Christmas (the Christmas season). Epiphany is also one of the seasons
of the Church, running from the end of Christmas
to Ash Wednesday.
name of a form of church organization which means government by an overseer.
From the Greek word episcopos, meaning overseer.
official name for the American branch of the worldwide Anglican
Communion. The Episcopal Church welcomes you!
(but not always) included in a Sunday service, the epistle is a reading
from one of the New Testament books other than the Gospels. The epistle
and the Old Testament lessons are typically read by a Lay
side of the building from which the Epistle lesson is read. The side
depends on whether the altar is located against a wall or free standing,
meaning the priest celebrates the Eucharist from behind it. If the altar
is against the wall, the Epistle side is the left side of the church
building when one is facing the altar.
means a "good gift" or "thanksgiving." The current
usage in the Episcopal Church to refers to the entire Communion service.
According to the current prayer book, the Eucharist
is intended to be the principal service on a Sunday.
speech or homily in praise of a deceased person;
brief remarks about the deceased at a funeral. Traditionally, a eulogy
was simply not done in the Episcopal Church. In recent times
the practice has gained favor in some circles.
evening worship service; evening prayer; and especially evening prayer
service featuring a choir.
pitcher most often used to water at baptisms, but
can also be used in place of a cruet or a flagon
many parishes, the rectors,
wardens and the parish treasurer form an executive
committee. They meet separately from the whole vestry,
between official vestry meetings.
the "Episcopal Young Churchmen,"
now the Episcopal Young Church-people." The EYC is the designation
often used to identify the local youth group.
white linen cloth cover for the altar, used during
familiar or direct way of referring to some ordained clergy.
"Low Church" Episcopalians usually
never use the term. The title is abbreviated as "Fr."
(e.g. Fr. Alvin Kimel)
days set aside for abstinence. On these days, one typically eats less,
or eats nothing at all. While any day may be observed as a fast day,
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday
are officially designated as fast days.
of celebration, as opposed to fast days. The primary feast day is Easter.
All Sundays are miniature celebrations of Easter, and thus all Sundays
are feast days. Other feast days include saint's days and all special
days like Ascension, Epiphany, Holy Cross Day, etc.
container that is larger than a cruet and is used
instead of, or in addition to cruets at larger celebrations of Communion.
1960's term for a less formal style of Eucharist
using contemporary songs as part of the worship service. In a "folk
mass," guitars or other instruments are featured instead of using
basin for water to be used in church baptisms.
part of the Communion liturgy
where the Communion bread is broken by the celebrant.
According to the prayer book, a period of silence
is to follow, and then can be said or sung, "Christ our Passover
is sacrificed for us." (prayer book pages 337 and 364)
national triennial meeting of the Episcopal Church. General Convention
is dividend into two governmental bodies: the House
of Bishops and the House of Deputies.
Each diocese sends deputies to General Convention
to enact laws to govern the Episcopal Church, and to pass resolutions
stating the "mind of the church" on topical issues.
the Latin words genu, meaning "knee," and flectere,
meaning "to bend." A genuflection is a sort of deep curtsey
where the right knee touches the ground. The appropriate times for genuflection
(if you do it at all) are when passing before the Reserved
Sacrament, when entering or leaving your pew when the consecrated
bread and wine are on the altar, and in the Nicene Creed at the words,
"who for us and our salvation."
and godmothers, persons who sponsor an infant or young child at his
or her baptism. Godparents make vows that they
will, by their example, help the child know what it means to be a Christian,
so that later in his or her life the child can confirm that fact for
himself or herself at Confirmation.
day in Holy Week in which we remember Christ's
arrest, crucifixion, and death. It is unclear where the name "Good
Friday" originated. Some have said it is a corruption of "God's
Friday," in the same manner that "Commandment Thursday"
became "Maundy Thursday." Others insist
it is called "Good" because of the great benefits given to
humanity by Christ's death and resurrection.
reading from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. We stand for the gospel reading
in the Eucharist, to show reverence for Christ,
since he is speaking to us when the gospel is read.
older usage for designating the interior of a church. The gospel side
is on the right-hand side of the priest, as determined by where he/she
is facing when celebrating the Holy Communion.
The Gospel side is thus dependant on whether the altar
is located against the wall or free-standing. Originally, the priest
celebrated communion facing the people and thus the Gospel Side was
the north side of the Church building [the left side, when facing the
altar]. In medieval times the altar was pushed against the west wall,
and the Gospel side then became the right side, when facing the altar.
of three popular designation for styles of worship in an Episcopal Church.
"High Church" worship emphasizes theological or liturgical
formality. Parts or all of a "high" service are often sung
or chanted rather than reading or speaking them.
Services often include several vested assistants, incense
and sanctus bells.
See Low Church, Broad Church.
way of referring to ordination among Roman Catholics, Episcopalians
and a few others: an ordained person is spoken
of as "being in holy orders"--meaning that the person has
made priestly vows and has been admitted by a bishop into one of the
several levels of ordination.
week preceding Easter -- the last week in Lent. Holy Week is the most
important period of the church year, observed with many special services,
beginning with Palm Sunday and concluding on Holy
Saturday. Holy Week includes Maundy Thursday and
short sermon often on a single topic of devotion
or morality. The difference between a sermon and a homily is primarily
consecrated "bread" part of the Holy
Communion. In most Episcopal churches a wafer
is used as the host, but an increasing number of churches are using
actual baked bread. The wafer the priest breaks at the fraction
is called a "priest's host."
the bishops of the Episcopal church sitting as a
legislative and judiciary body of the church, at General
lay and presbyter delegates
to a General Convention sitting as a legislative
the Greek word, hymnos, meaning "song of praise." A
hymn is a poem or other metrical composition adapted for singing in
a church service. Hymns have only been allowed in the Anglican
Church since 1820.
the Latin word, incendere, meaning "to burn," incense
is the "smell" element in "smells &
bells"; a fragrant powder burned in a small dish or pot; used
during the service or in the processions. Scripture commends its usage,
particularly in Psalm 141, where prayers are asked to be like incense.
service in which a person is "installed" into his or her office.
In the Episcopal Church, installation services are offered for new ministries
ranging from rectors and bishops
to Sunday School teachers and vestry.
the Greek for the actual name, Kyrie Eleison, which means, "Lord
have mercy." The Kyrie comes after the Ten Commandments or the
summary of the law in the Rite I Eucharist, to serve
as a reminder to us that we cannot, by our own effort, keep the commandments.
It is a plea for grace by fallen sinners. In Rite II,
where there is no recitation of the Ten Commandments or a summary of
the law, the Kyrie seems out of place, and is, for that reason, often
the Greek word, laos, meaning "people," the
laity are the non-ordained members of a church, as distinguished from
"the clergy". An single member of the laity would be referred
to as a "lay person."
person who is not ordained, but who works closely with a church or religious
program. Some lay ministers are un-paid volunteers; some are paid staff
members of a church.
non-ordained person; in the Episcopal church today, lay person is often
used instead of the older (and politically incorrect) Episcopal usage
non-ordained person who participates in reading part of a church service.
Lay readers sometimes serve as chalice-bearers
at a Eucharist.
the Latin, lectrum, meaning "reading desk" - A raised
platform used for reading prayers or scripture; usually located at the
front of the nave, opposite the pulpit, on the epistle
complex series of Biblical readings used in the Episcopal Church throughout
the year. The Church uses a three-year cycle of lessons for Sunday readings
and a two-year cycle for daily readings.
an Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, meaning, "spring,"
the time of the lengthening of the days. Lent is one of the six seasons
of the church year and is the forty-day period beginning on Ash
Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter). The
period is actually 46 days, but since Sundays are feast
days, they are never included in the count. Lent is intended to
be a period of preparation and penitence marked by fasting, meditation
and sobriety. Lent is widely associated with denial -- "giving
something up for Lent."
reading from the Bible during a worship service.
Lessons are usually read by a lay person and
are not taken from the Gospel or the Psalms. Lessons are usually read
from the epistle side of the church building
and conclude with the reader saying, "The word of the Lord"
or "Here ends the reading."
name of the Festival of Lessons and Carols held during late Advent
or early Christmas at Anglican
Churches throughout the world.
abbreviation for "Lay Eucharistic Minister" A
LEM is an individual who has undergone special training and is authorized
by the priest to take pre-consecrated Communion
to a sick or shut-in member of the parish or mission.
"liturgy," used to describe a particular
style of worship that requires active participation (standing, sitting,
knelling, recitation, common prayer, etc.) from both the clergy and
laity. Episcopal, Lutheran, Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are
generally considered to be liturgical churches, while most Protestant
denominations are not.
a combination of two Greek words, laos (people) and ergon
(work). Literally the word means "the work of the people, "
and is generally used to refer to the entire, complete worship service.
monthly magazine of the Episcopal Church often discussing current issues
in the life of the Church in the classical Anglican
via media way.
popular designation for a church that is, on the whole, less formal.
Most low churches tend to emphasize good sermons
as being more important than good liturgy, and
do not chant or sing their services or use incense
or sanctus bells. A low church might alternate
Morning Prayer with the Eucharist
for their primary Sunday worship. See High Church,
of Divinity; the basic American theological degree;
in earlier years, the first theological degree was the B.D. [Bachelor
of Divinity], but in the late 1960's many American divinity schools
began to allow their earlier graduates to exchange their B.D. degrees
for the newer M.Div. degree.
liturgical napkin. The maniple is worn draped over the celebrant's
the Latin word, missa, meaning "sent," or "dismissed."
Mass is the Roman Catholic name for the Christian sacramental meal but
sometimes used by Episcopalians to refer to communion
or Eucharist. The word probably originated from
the ending of the old Roman Catholic liturgy, where the celebrant
proclaimed, "Ite missa est."
in Holy Week; the name is from a corruption
of the Old English word for "commandment" in Christ's commandment
given in John 13:34: "A new commandment I give you, that you love
one another." The word "command" was originally spelled
"commaundment" and was shortened to "Maundy" through
careless enunciation. The command is closely tied to another "commaund"
given by Jesus at the same time:"Do this in remembrance of me."
Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday) was the day on which the first Lord's
Supper, the Last Supper, was celebrated with the 12 Disciples. Maundy
Thursday services often include "stripping the altar" (removing
all items including hangings) and in some parishes,
foot washing (see John 13:5).
local Episcopal congregation that is not able to be financially self-supporting.
The congregation's rector is the diocesan bishop,
and the bishop appoints a priest-in-charge as his/her representative.
The priest-in-charge of a mission is commonly referred to as a vicar.
When a mission is able to be self-supporting, it may apply for parish
status and be admitted to the diocese as a parish.
equivalent of a vestry for a mission.
tall, pointed liturgical hat worn by a bishop during
formal worship. Its shape is said to be symbolic of the tongues of fire
which rested on the original bishops at the first Pentecost.
daily morning worship service without communion;
Also known as the Daily Office and found on pages 37 (Rite
I) and 75 (Rite II) in the prayer
book. In some churches, Morning Prayer is alternated with Eucharist
as the principal Sunday service. Since Morning Prayer does not require
the presence of ordained clergy, the service
is sometimes used in the absence of the rector or
Church festival that does not fall on a fixed calendar
day, but varies from year to year. Easter is the
most important movable feast since many other movable feasts are determined
by when Easter occurs.
Greek, the word literally means "a large fennel" (a tall herb).
In church architecture, the narthex is an enclosed space at the entry
end of the nave of a building; the area in the church
building inside the doors and in front of the nave. The narthex is usually
enclosed (primarily to provide a buffer between the outside weather
and the heating/cooling inside), and is the area where the procession
gathers prior to the service.
main part of a church building; the place where the congregation sits.
Probably derived from the Latin word navis, meaning "ship."
(As in Noah's ark) In medieval England the derogatory term "knave"
(commoner) developed from nave, because the nave is the area of the
building where the "common" people sit.
think of the offertory as the time in the worship service where the
offering is taken up. The offering of money is part of the offertory,
but the offertory also includes the offering of bread and wine that
is to be consecrated during the communion,
and the offering of "
ourselves, our souls and bodies, to
be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice." (BCP.
Page 336.) Or, as Rite II says, "Sanctify us
also." (BCP. page 363))
Latin, ordo, meaning "order." Ordination is one of
the five sacramental acts (or minor sacraments)
of the Episcopal Church. At an ordination, an individual is commissioned
and empowered for the work of ministry. Ordination is the ritual used
to make someone a priest or deacon,
by the laying on of hands by a bishop. Bishops,
in turn, are not ordained; they are consecrated.
See Holy Orders.
Sunday before Easter, where Jesus' final and triumphal entry into Jerusalem
is observed. In many Episcopal congregations the passion
narrative read is also read. Real palm branches or crosses made
from palms (or both) are usually distributed to the congregation. In
some churches, Palm Sunday palms are saved and later burned to make
the ashes for the next year's Ash Wednesday service.
group of people of a certain area who are organized into a local, self-supporting
church. Sometimes the word is used to refer to the geographic region
around a church. In the South, many of the present-day counties were
once organized as parishes [as is still the case in Louisiana].
the Latin word persona, meaning "person." From the
eleventh century English, where there term was a legal one, applying
to the parish priest, because in all matters he
was the designated "person" to deal with. Today, the term
is not used as often as it was, and often evokes rural connotations.
the Hebrew word Pesach, meaning Passover. A very large candle
in a very tall holder and placed in a prominent display in the epistle
side of the sanctuary. The candle is lighted
throughout the Easter season, and during baptisms,
weddings, and funerals.
name given to the gospel reading on the Sunday of
the Passion - Palm Sunday. The reading chronicles
the final hours of Jesus' earthly ministry. The reading traditionally
begins with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and continues through
his arrest, trial, crucifixion, and death. It is the longest lesson
read in the Church year (see: seasons),
and the only gospel reading with an option allowing the congregation
to sit during the first part of the reading.
name for a clergy person. In both Latin and English
the word simply means "shepherd." All Lutheran clergy are
called pastors, and many Episcopal and Roman Catholic clergy are comfortable
enough with the term to use it to describe them.
Greek, patane: a shallow vessel. The paten is the vessel used
to contain the consecrated bread during a Communion.
known as "passing the peace." A part of the ritual in the
Episcopal Church in which members of the congregation, including the
clergy, greet one another. The priest says, "The Peace of the Lord
be always with you." The congregation responds, "And also
initials for the Protestant Episcopal Church of
the United States of America, which is the original
name of what we commonly call the Episcopal Church.
Festival Sunday that comes fifty days after Easter
in which we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the twelve
Disciples after Christ's Resurrection (Acts 2). Pentecost is traditionally
seen as the birthday of the church, and is also the beginning of the
longest season in the church - the season after Pentecost. The season
after Pentecost runs from the day of Pentecost to the first Sunday in
to the 1979 prayer book, the day of Pentecost was
known as Whitsunday.
single, and usually permanent seats in the nave of
a church building. In the earliest times there were no chairs except
for the clergy, and the congregation "congregated"
in the nave. Later individual seating was added particularly for older
members. Pews came into existence as a way for local churches to support
themselves financially, by renting or selling pews to families.
for the Book of Common Prayer.
actual, official name for an Episcopal priest. The
word is a Celtic contradiction of the Greek word presbyteros,
meaning "elder." The presbyter represents the bishop in a
parish or mission, as he or she has since the earliest of Church times,
when older members of a congregation were chosen to represent the bishop.
elected episcopal head of the Episcopal Church in America [PECUSA];
the chief administrator and spiritual head of the Episcopal Church.
Until the 1920's, the Presiding Bishop was simply a diocesan bishop
elected to preside over General Convention. In more recent history the
Presiding Bishop has become the American equivalent of an Archbishop
and the head of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.
Title: The Most Reverend. The current Presiding Bishop is the Most Rev.
Frank Tracy Griswold III, the 25th Presiding Bishop of the
special term for an ordained minister of a Roman
Catholic or Episcopal or Orthodox church; In Roman circles, the term
refers to those who recite the Mass, but the Episcopal
Church traces the word's origin to a Celtic corruption of the official
term for Clergy - Presbyters. The duty of a priest,
according to the prayer book, is to baptize,
preach the Word of God, and to celebrate the Eucharist,
and to pronounce Absolution and Blessing in
title for the vicar of a mission.
line of choir, clergy, acolytes,
crucifer, torchbearers and
others walking into a church building to begin a service.
to the procession. A processional hymn is a hymn sung while the procession
is entering the church building.
large cross carried by the crucifer during the
the Latin pro, meaning "for," and testare, meaning
"witness." Thus literally, if one was to be a protestant it
would mean he or she would be a witness for something. The word was
first used in 1529 as part of Martin Luther's reform movement. The Episcopal
Church does not officially consider itself to be a Protestant church,
but is considered to be Protestant by Roman Catholics, as well as by
many lay members of the Episcopal Church.
of the major organizational divisions of the Episcopal Church; a group
of dioceses in a particular region of the United
States, usually under the direction of a diocesan
bishop who serves as president of the province.
the Latin, pulpitum, meaning "a platform." - A raised
platform or podium used for the sermon or homily;
generally located in the front of the gospel
side of the nave. In some Colonial church buildings
and in many non-Episcopal churches, the pulpit is in the center, to
signify the importance of the sermon.
Latin purus (pure) and facare (to make). A purificator
is a small piece of white linen used at Communion
to cleanse the chalice, by wiping the rim of the
chalice with the purificator.
primary color used in the season of Lent, and the
most popular color used in Advent. Purple signifies
penitence and preparation. Purple was originally a sign of royalty,
as purple dye was rare. Thus, a purple clergy shirt (or some shade of
violet) usually indicates that the wearer is a bishop.
small container used for transporting the Host. Most
commonly used by a priest or LEM
when taking Communion to a sick person or shut-in.
who reads a lesson, psalm or prayer in a service.
Lay persons may read any lesson but if the service
is Eucharist, the Gospel
reading must be read by a deacon or priest.
see: Lay Reader
lessons that are read during a worship service.
procession of the crucifer, acolytes,
choir, readers, clergy
and other assistants out of a church building at the end of a service.
final hymn sung as the recession takes place.
head priest of a parish; the word, in Latin means
"ruler." If a parish has more than one clergy, the others
are called Assistant Rectors or Associate Rectors. A mission
cannot have a rector. A mission has a priest-in-charge, and is often
called a vicar.
residence of a rector; the place where an Episcopal
(or Roman Catholic) clergy lives. Called a parsonage
or manse in most other Christian denominations.
funeral service or memorial service. Sometimes the word is preceded
by the word 'solemn': (Solemn Requiem.) Sometimes the word
is preceded by 'high': High Requiem--which only indicates that
portions of the service will be sung or chanted.
A High Requiem Mass is a funeral service with communion
and singing of parts of the service.
any decoration behind or above an altar; may be in
the form of statues, screens, or tapestries.
bread and wine kept in the church building after a Communion service;
kept primarily for distribution to the sick of the Church.
called a gradine, the retable is a narrow shelf located behind
an altar that is placed against the wall. Candles
and flowers are sometimes placed on the retable. The retable is also
sometimes used to house a tabernacle.
honorific title given to ordained clergy
in most Christian churches. The correct form of address is "The Reverend
John Doe," and never "Reverend John Doe."
affectionate, devotional or pietistic way of referring to a priest
who has accepted the term Father.
form of address for a bishop the Episcopal Church, as in "The Right
Reverend Edward L. Salmon, Jr."
portion of the Book of Common Prayer which contains
worship services using the traditional worship language of the Church
from as used from the 1600's until 1976.
portion of the Book of Common Prayer containing worship
services which use more modern language and place importance on a different
theological emphasis than traditional Episcopal worship.
is no Rite III service in the prayer book, but the
alternative forms 1 and 2 (pages 402 -405) have been euphemistically
called Rite III since the introduction of the 1979
prayer book. These forms for Eucharist are
intended for informal use, and never intended for a regular, weekly
bishop's full-length vestment similar to a surplice
with full sleeves, and usually worn under a chimere.
the Latin word sacrare, meaning to "consecrate." According
to the prayer book, sacraments are "outward and visible signs of
inward and spiritual grace." Sacraments are physical actions that
point us to deeper realities than we are able to experience with our
five senses. The Episcopal Church recognizes two major, or "gospel"
sacraments, and five minor sacraments, or sacramental acts. The two
major sacraments, Baptism and Communion,
and called gospel sacraments because Jesus told us (in the gospels)
to do them until he comes again. The five sacramental acts (or minor
sacraments) are not all necessarily required of all Christians. They
are Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination,
Reconciliation, and Unction.
earlier times the sacristan was the man in charge of the sacristy.
Some cathedrals will still designate a priest as
a Canon Sacristan, but now the usage of the word
has largely become interchangeable with the word "sexton."
room near the altar where the communion
vessels, altar hangings, candlesticks, etc. are kept and cleaned.
the Latin word sanctus, meaning "holy." The sanctuary
is the part of the church building where the altar
is -- the area behind the altar rail. Many Protestant
denominations use the word to refer to the whole inside of the church
building, but this is not the usual Episcopal usage.
lamp hanging somewhere in the sanctuary. Sometimes
there are three lamps, sometimes seven, but usually only one. A single,
continuously burning sanctuary lamp indicates the presence of the Reserved
part of the Holy Communion service that beings
with the words, "Holy, Holy, Holy."
actual name for the bell is a "sacring bell," but most refer
it as a "sanctus bell" because it is rung at the time of the
sanctus. In medieval times, when the service was
said in Latin and the masses spoke English, the bell was rung at the
Sanctus as a signal that it was time to pay attention.
way of marking time in the Church. There are six
seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and the season after
Pentecost. The church new year begins with the season of Advent,
which marks the Advent (Latin: adventus) or coming of our Lord.
Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas day. Christmas
is a twelve-day season that begins Christmas day and continues to January
6th. Epiphany is both a day (Jan.6)
and a season, and represents the manifestation (epiphany) of the gospel
into the world. Lent begins 46 days before Easter
with Ash Wednesday, and is a time of preparation for Holy
Week and Easter. Easter is a six week (50 day)
season which ends on Pentecost Sunday. The season
after Pentecost runs from Pentecost to Advent.
See also: Colors
seats inside the sanctuary, used by clergy
the Latin word sedes, meaning "seats." Originally used
to refer to the bishop's seat, the earliest of all symbols of authority.
The seat was kept in the cathedral, and the bishop's
see was the town where the cathedral was located. Now the word is used
(primarily by Roman Catholics) to refer to a whole diocese.
student enrolled in a seminary.
general term for a residential academic program for the study of theology.
Priests in the Episcopal Church are usually (but
not always) required to be seminary graduates. The academic program
is generally three years, and culminates with the conferring of a masters
degree called a Masters of Divinity, or M.Div.
verbal address given after the readings, and hopefully given to
further explain the readings and to put them in a modern context. In
the Anglican Church the sermon is seen as a bridge
between the Biblical world and the modern world.
older English title for the person in charge of the church building
[or a special portion of it] and grounds; in America the Sexton is also
commonly head of maintenance and custodial services and may perform
additional duties such as ringing the church bell.
final day before the season of Lent begins, usually
marked by pancake suppers in parish halls throughout the Episcopal church.
Shrove Tuesday is also the final day of Mardi Gras, and various Carnivals
throughout the world.
lighthearted way of describing a "high"
church, referring to the parish or mission's
frequent use of incense (Smells) and Sanctus
long strip of cloth (often silk) worn around the neck of the priest
and allowed to hang down the front of the clerical vestments.
Only bishops, priests and deacons
are allowed to wear stoles. The stole is usually worn at all eucharistic
services, weddings and funerals, but never worn at Morning
Prayer services. The stole is said to represent the yoke of obedience
white over-garment worn over other vestments
(usually a cassock); somewhat longer and fuller
than a cotta; The surplice and cassock are the traditional
garments of the Anglican Church.
for "Lift up your hearts." The Sursum Corda is part
of an antiphon that has been in the Eucharist
since the third century.
small cabinet (sometimes a vessel) designed to contain the Reserved
Sacrament. The tabernacle may be found built into the altar, sitting
on the altar, on the retable,
or it may be built into another part of the sanctuary.
In very Low Churches the tabernacle will not
be found anywhere.
person who carries a candle in a religious procession; often the Crucifer
is followed by two "Torches" -- two persons each carrying
a candle mounted on a short staff.
fundamental symbol of the Christian faith and a critically important,
basic, core doctrine in Christianity. The Trinity refers to the oneness
and essential unity of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
section of a cross-shaped (cruciform) church at right angles to the
nave. It is also the name for the aisle
in front of the first pew, that separates the nave
from the chancel.
Days of Christmas
time from December 25th to January 6th, that is from Christmas
day to Epiphany. The time from the first Sunday
in Advent until Christmas Eve is, properly, Advent;
the time from December 25th to January 6th is the Christmas season or
the "Twelve Days of Christmas."
Latin, unguere, meaning "to anoint." Unction is the process
of anointing someone with consecrated oil for
religious purposes. Episcopalians use the word to refer to anointing
the sick for the purpose of making them well (see James 5:14).
Latin vela: a sail or curtain. In the Church,
the veil refers to the solid cloth that covers the chalice
and paten at the Eucharist, or the loose-woven netting
that is draped over crosses (and sometimes pictures) during Lent
and Holy Week.
form of address for clergy who hold the office of
the Latin word, verga, meaning "a rod." An older usage
for someone who carries a mace or ceremonial staff in a procession,
and comes before some dignitary.
form of address for clergy who hold the office of dean
in a diocese, church or school.
the Latin word vestis, meaning "garment." Vestments
are clothing worn by clergy or people leading a
worship service. A monk or nun's clothing is usually named a "habit,"
and the clothing worn by choir members is usually called a "robe."
The clothing worn by some pastors of Protestant
denominations and by college professors is usually called a "gown."
started out as everyday clothing. In the Roman times, the clergyman
wore normal street clothes -- a tunic, and perhaps a toga over it. Between
the sixth and ninth century, secular fashion began to reflect the occupation
of a person. It was possible to tell what one did by what he or she
wore. The Church reflected this change by not changing
the style of their garments. Vestments, then, came to us as a result
of the clergy being "out of style" when it came to fashion.
the Latin word vestire, meaning to clothe, or to put on. Originally
the word referred to the room where the priest would
vest. In the early days the local lay leaders would
gather with the priest as he vested to discuss the affairs of the parish.
Later, the word came to refer to the leaders, instead of the room.
vestry is the governing board of a local Episcopal parish
consisting of the rector, the wardens,
and lay members. In many parishes, the rectors, wardens
and the treasurer form an executive committee, and will often meet separately
from the whole vestry between vestry meetings.
Latin phrase which means "by the way of the middle."
Many would say that the adherence to the middle way in all matters is
one of the major identifying characteristics of classical Anglicanism.
the Latin word vicarius, meaning "a substitute." An
English term referring to a priest in charge of
a mission. Technically, the diocesan
bishop is the rector of all diocesan missions,
and vicars are appointed to their mission by the local diocesan bishop
to represent him or her. The term "Vicar" is still the terminology
used today to describe an English priest in who is charge of a congregation.
official appearance by a diocesan bishop. According
to the national canons, the bishop must visit each
congregation within his or her jurisdiction at
least once every three years.
devotional candle placed in a church or chapel in some "higher"
Episcopal Churches. Votive candles are usually small, short candles in
a special glass holder.
bread part of the Lord's Supper
signifying to us the Body of Christ, and is often an unleavened, and very
thin cracker-like substance. After the wafer is consecrated,
it is usually called the Host. Sometimes the wafer is
imprinted with a cross, sometimes it is smooth. Wafers that will serve
as priest's hosts are larger than the people's hosts, and can range from
one inch to several inches in diameter. The people's host is usually about
a half inch in size.
of two vestry members chosen to serve his or her parish
in a special capacity. Wardens (both junior and senior) can either be
elected or appointed, depending on local parish or diocesan canons.
Junior wardens are often elected by the parish at the annual congregational
meeting, and are thus referred to as "the people's warden."
The tasks for a junior warden vary from parish to parish, but the majority
of Junior Wardens find themselves placed in charge of the Buildings and
other of two vestry members chosen to serve his or
her parish in a special capacity. Although the duties
vary widely due to local canons, in most cases the
Senior Warden is viewed as the "top" lay
person in a parish. In many parishes the Senior Warden is chosen by the
rector, and serves as a liaison between the rector
and the parish. Because of this function, the Senior Warden is sometimes
referred to as "the rector's warden."
beverage portion of the Lord's Supper. As Scripture
reminds us, "And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and he gave it
to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament
which is shed for many, for the remission of sins." (Matthew 26:27-28)
In the Episcopal Church, wine is used at communion
and is often a port wine.
old name for Pentecost Sunday, the day described
in Acts 2. With the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, the
day became known as Pentecost.