Glossary of Terms
Christ Episcopal Church, Mexia

505 E. Commerce
Mexia Texas 76667-2862

Episcopal Church Terminology
The long history of the Church has led to the accumulation of many terms that one seldom if ever otherwise hears. Some members of the church delight in using these words, but they really do not mean to confound you by doing so: many of them simply have no satisfactory substitute. The good news is that once you’ve learned a few of them, you can join in the fun as well!




Altar Guild

Athanasian Creed


Anglican Communion


Apostolic Succession

Apostles' Creed, The

Archbishop of Canterbury

Assessment, Diocesan

Athanasian Creed

Baptism (Holy)

Baptismal Covenant

Bells and Smells


Bishop, Assistant

Bishop, Assisting

Bishop, Diocesan

Bishop, Suffragan

Book of Common Prayer

Book of Occasional Services (BOS)

Calendar of Intercession


Canon to the Ordinary

Canonical Residence







Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral



Church of England



Colors, Liturgical

Communion, Holy




Council, Diocesan

Cranmer, Archbishop


Deacon, Vocational

Deacon, Transitional



Diocesan Convention


Episcopal Church





General Convention


High Church

Holy Orders

Holy Spirit


House of Bishops

House of Deputies






Lay Euchristic Minister

Lay Minister

Lay Preacher

Lay Reader

Laying on of Hands




Liturgical Colors


Low Church





Mission, Organized


Missional Communities


Nicene Creed, The


Office, Daily


Ordinary Time



Peace, The



Presiding Bishop







Rite I

Rite II



Sanctus Bell

Sanctus, The




Supply Clergy



Trinity, The


Trinity, The





Warden, or Churchwarden

Acolyte A person, usually but not always, a youth in a simple white vestment, who lights the altar candles and assists the priest in the service.

Altar A table, usually of wood or stone, on which the Eucharist is consecrated.

Altar Guild A group that takes care of the maintenance and preparation of a church’s altar and its furnishings. Currently the Altar Guild at Christ Church is headed by Wanda Fewell. See the Altar Guild page.

Anglican A member of one of the churches descended from the Church of England. The Episcopal Church is one of these. (See also Anglican Communion) As an adjective, Anglican describes traditions or teachings associated with those churches.

Anglican Communion The 38 provinces around the world, plus extra-provincial churches,which are in communion with the See of Canterbury. Member churches are independent but share a common heritage concerning Anglican identity and a commitment to scripture, tradition, and reason as sources of authority.

Anglo-Catholic Episcopalians who identify with Roman Catholic teaching and liturgical practice and hold a high view of the authority of clergy and tradition. Anglo-Catholics are sometimes called “high church” because of their emphasis on the divine nature of the church as the mystical body of Christ.

Anglican Consultative Council The most comprehensive gathering of the Anglican Communion. The purpose of the council is to provide consultation and guidance on policy issues, such as world mission and ecumenism, for the Anglican Communion. The president of the council is the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Apostolic Succession The doctrine that the authority and the mission given by Jesus to the Apostles have descended in a direct and unbroken line of bishops to the bishops of today.

Apostoles' Creed, The Ancient formula of Christian belief in three sections concerning God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Although its authorship is attributed to the twelve apostles, opinions vary concerning its origin. Its title dates from the late fourth century, and it may be based on a shorter form of the creed in use at Rome in the middle of the second century. The Apostles' Creed may be considered to be an authentic expression of the apostolic faith. It contains twelve articles, and is known as the baptismal creed because catechumens were traditionally required to recite it before baptism. It was the basis for the original baptismal formula. Candidates were baptized by immersion or affusion after their response of faith to each of the three questions concerning Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Apostles' Creed is the basis for the baptismal covenant in the BCP (p. 304), and it is used in the Daily Offices. It may be used at the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, at the Burial of the Dead, and at the Consecration of a Church.

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Archbishop of Canterbury The primate of the Church of England; the honorary spiritual head of the entire Anglican Communion.

Assessment, Diocesan The amount that each congregation pays to the diocese to fund the diocese’s annual budget.

Athanasian Creed Statement of faith dating from the fourth or fifth centuries. It is also known by its opening Latin words as the Quicunque Vult, “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.” The creed is attributed to St. Athanasius (296-373), but this attribution has generally been discounted since the Athanasian Creed includes doctrinal expressions that appeared only in later theological controversies. It was considered to express the faith that Athanasius taught. It is unlike other standard creeds because of its length and its anathemas against those who would deny its doctrines. The creed emphasizes the triune nature of God and the Incarnation. Although it was used in the Church of England on certain principal feasts of the church year, the Athanasian Creed was never appointed for liturgical use in the Episcopal Church. It is published as one of the Historical Documents of the Church in the 1979 BCP (pp. 864-865).

Baptism (Holy) Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble. In the Episcopal Church, anyone who has been baptized may take Communion.

Baptismal CovenantThe rite of Christian initiation contains a series of vows, made by all present, called the “baptismal covenant” (BCP, pp. 304-305). After the candidates have renounced evil and committed themselves to Christ, the presider asks the congregation to join them and “renew our own baptismal covenant.” Responding to a series of questions, the people affirm belief in the triune God (through the Apostles' Creed) and promise to continue in the Christian fellowship, resist evil and repent, proclaim the gospel, serve Christ in all persons, and strive for justice and peace. In the Episcopal Church the baptismal covenant is widely regarded as the normative statement of what it means to follow Christ.

Bells and Smells Colloquial term for the elaborate ritual style common in many Anglo-Catholic parishes. In this expression, “bells” refers to the ringing of bells at various points during the eucharist. “Smells” refers to the use of incense. This term is used pejoratively by some, playfully by others.

Bishop Chief pastor of a diocese and guardian of the faith of the Church.

Bishop, Assistant A bishop appointed by the diocesan bishop to assist the diocesan and to serve under the diocesan’s direction. The Rt. Rev. Hector F. Monterroso is the current Bishop Assistant for the Diocese of Texas.

Bishop, Assisting A bishop appointed by the diocesan bishop to provide short-term assistance with episcopal duties in the diocese. The Rt. Rev. J. Scott Mayer currently serves as the Assisting Bishop for the Diocese of Texas.

Bishop, Diocesan The Episcopal Church and some other Anglican Churches the diocesan bishop is elected by the Diocesan Convention. In other Anglican Provinces, bishops are either appointed from outside, or are chosen by existing bishops. This has been known to cause misunderstandings within the Anglican Communion. The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle is the current Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Texas.

Bishop, Suffragan A bishop elected by the Diocesan Convention to assist the diocesan bishop and to serve under the Diocesan’s direction. A Bishop Suffragan has no automatic right of succession to the diocesan bishop. The Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher and the Rt. Rev. Kathryn “Kai” McCrossen Ryan serve as Bishops Suffragan for the Diocese of Texas.

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Book of Common Prayer The collection of prayers, readings, psalms, devotions, and services that together make up the official liturgy of the Episcopal Church. Nearly all services in any Episcopal Church are printed in this book. In a church in which there is a wide range of interpretation of doctrine and of liturgical style, the Book of Common Prayer provides a unifying glue that places it at the heart of who we are both as Episcopalians and as part of the wider Anglican Communion. The first English Book of Common Prayer was published in 1549; the classic version, which remained in use in England with minimal changes until well into the 20th century, was completed in 1662. The Episcopal Church revised its version of the Book of Common Prayer in 1928, and then essentially rewrote it, amid considerable controversy, in 1979. Some services from the 1928 prayer book have been retained in the current prayer book as “Rite I” services. Although each province of the Anglican Communion now has its own Book of Common Prayer, the similarities between them are far greater than their differences.

Book of Occasional Services (BOS) Book of optional services and texts prepared by the Standing Liturgical Commission in response to a directive from the General Convention of 1976 to replace The Book of Offices (third edition, 1960). The services and texts of the BOS are available for “occasional” pastoral and liturgical needs of congregations. The BOS includes special materials for the church year (such as forms for Seasonal Blessings, a Christmas Festival of Lessons and Music, and a service for All Hallows' Eve); Pastoral Services (such as forms for Welcoming New People to a Congregation, the rites of the Catechumenate, and a form for the Blessing of a Pregnant Woman); and Episcopal Services (such as forms for the Reaffirmation of Ordination Vows and the Welcoming and Seating of a Bishop in the Cathedral). The Preface to the BOS notes that “None of it is required, and no congregation is likely to make use of all of it.”

Calendar of Intercession The Calendar of Intercession is a daily reminder to intercede with the Almighty on behalf of the person or entity on the list and to remember their needs in prayer. See the Diocesan Calendar of Intercession.

Canon 1. An ecclesiastical rule or law adopted by General Convention or by Diocesan Convention. 2. A member of the clergy, or less often a lay person, on the staff of a cathedral or of a bishop.

Canon to the Ordinary A canon who is specific to the Bishop’s office; a staff officer who performs tasks as assigned by the Ordinary, or Diocesan Bishop. Rev. Christine M. Faulstich is the current Canon of the Ordinary for the Diocese of Texas.

Canonical Residence The connection with a diocese that a member of the clergy acquires by ordination in and for that diocese or by transfer to the diocese and acceptance by its bishop.

Catechism A commentary on the creeds, printed in the Book of Common Prayer and intended for use by parish priests, deacons, and lay catechists as an outline for instruction. Not meant to be a complete statement of belief and practice, but a point of departure for the teacher. The Catechism also provides a brief summary of the Church’s teaching for an inquiring stranger.

Canterbury Refers to the see of Canterbury, England and to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Cathedral The church that contains the bishop’s throne (cathedra) – the seat of the bishop.

Catholic Literally, “universal” or “found everywhere.” Usually, a reference to the Roman Catholic Church, although the term also includes Anglican, Syrian, Greek, Coptic, Russian and other churches. The Episcopal Church is a catholic church with a small “c.” Catholic churches generally accept the teachings of tradition as well as scripture, and usually accept the validity of one or more ancient creeds as the summary of the Christian faith.

Celebrant The bishop or presbyter (priest) who presides at the Eucharist.

Chalice The stemmed cup or other vessel used to hold the Communion wine.

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Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral A four-point articulation of Anglican identity, that also describes the Anglican Communion’s ecumenical principles. The four points are: 1. The Holy Scriptures, as containing all things necessary to salvation; 2. The Creeds (specifically, the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds), as the sufficient statement of Christian faith; 3. The Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion; 4. The historic episcopate, locally adapted.

Chrism Consecrated oil used in the administration of Baptism, confirmation, ordination, etc.

Church This word may designate a building or a place of Christian worship, the membership of a particular denomination, or all Christians considered together.

Church of England The church that resulted from the split of the English Church from Rome in the 16th Century; also known as the Anglican Church. The formal head of the Church of England is the reigning monarch; its spiritual head is the Archbishop of Canterbury. All other member churches of the Anglican Communion trace their origins to the Church of England. (see also Book of Common Prayer)

Clergy All individuals in Holy Orders.

Collect A short form of prayer in three parts- an address to God, a petition (special request), and a conclusion- and associated with specific occasions and liturgical seasons.

Colors, Liturgical By tradition, various colors are used for the vestments and altar hangings for the different seasons and feasts of the Church Year. In western use the tradition is: • Red – on Pentecost, Feasts of Martyrs, and during Holy Week. • White – on Feasts of our Lord, Feasts of Saints who were not martyrs, Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in some places at the Burial of the Dead. • Green – on the Sundays and Ordinary days of the Year after Epiphany and Pentecost. • Blue – in some places used during Advent. • Purple or Violet – for penitential occasions, during Lent, at Requiems or the Burial of the Dead, and Advent. • Black – in some places for the Burial of the Dead and Requiems.

Communion, Holy See Eucharist

Communicant Anyone, baptized or confirmed, who has communicated (i.e., received Communion) at least three times during the preceding year.

Confirmation The opportunity for those baptized at an early age to make a mature public affirmation of their faith, to commit to the responsibilities of their Baptism, and to receive the laying on of hands by the bishop. The Book of Common Prayer states: “Those baptized at an early age are expected, when they are ready and have been duly prepared, to make a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of the Baptism and to receive the laying on of hands by the Bishop.” (BCP p. 412)

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Congregation A parish or a mission. A parish is headed by a rector; a mission differs from a parish: it is normally headed by a vicar or priest-in-charge who is appointed by the Bishop and has an advisory board instead of a vestry.

Council, Diocesan The decision-making body of the Diocese. Normally meeting once a year in February, its voting members comprise clergy who are canonically resident and ministering within the Diocese, together with between one and five lay delegates from each congregation, depending on the number of each congregation’s communicants-in-good-standing.

Cranmer, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, (July 2, 1489-Mar. 21, 1556).was the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican Reformation. As archbishop he was the author of the first Anglican Prayer Book (1549). He was the leader in moderate doctrinal reform as expressed in the Ten Articles of 1536 and the Bishops' Book of 1537. Under King Edward VI (1547-1553), he continued as a leader of the Reformation. With the accession of Queen Mary in 1553, Cranmer's Protestant policies fell into disfavor. On Nov. 13, 1553, he was deprived of his office as archbishop. In 1556 he was accused of high treason and handed over to the state for execution. He recanted, but the prospect of death restored both his faith and his dignity. He renounced his recantation and reaffirmed his opposition to papal power and the doctrine of transubstantiation. At the stake he steadfastly held his right hand in the fire until it was consumed. He did this because his right hand “had offended” by signing the recantation. The BCP of 1549, revised in 1552, stands as the greatest achievement of his genius. Cranmer is commemorated along with Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Oct. 16.

Creeds Ancient and universal statements of Christian faith. Those ordained for use in the Book of Common Prayer are the Apostles Creed (spoken by the congregation in Morning and Evening Prayer) and the Nicene Creed (spoken by the congregation in the Holy Eucharist). Many Anglican churches also include the Athanasian Creed among their statements of faith.

Deacon, Transitional A postulant to the priesthood who is ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons as part of the process of progressing to ordination as a priest.

Deacon, Vocational A cleric ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons or Diaconate, one of the three Holy Orders. Deacons are called to fulfill a vocation, as well as a ministry, in the world under the direction of the bishop. While in the world, a deacon interprets the needs of the world, and then communicates such needs to the bishop and the greater church at large. In turn, a deacon ministers to the world as directed by the bishop. Liturgically, a deacon reads the Gospel, sets the table, leads the Prayers of the People, and dismisses the congregation.

Dismissal The words said or sung by the celebrant at the conclusion of the Eucharist (see BCP, 339 or 366). The response to the dismissal is “Thanks be to God” (during the Fifty Days of Easter, “Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia.”).

Diocese A territorial unit of administration, consisting of a number of individual parishes, under the pastoral oversight of a bishop.

Diocesan Council See Council, Diocesan.

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Episcopal An adjective meaning “of or pertaining to bishops.” From the Greek word “episcopos” (overseer). The “Episcopate” is the office of a bishop, the period of time during which he or she holds the office, or bishops as a group.

Episcopal Church The Episcopal Church (TEC), of which the Diocese of Texas is part, is the Anglican province in the United States. It has more than one hundred dioceses and is divided into nine geographical provinces. See also its website.

Episcopalian A noun referring to members of the Episcopal Church or to Christians who believe in an episcopal form of church government.

Epistle The lesson at the Eucharist preceding the Gospel taken from one of the Letters of the New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles, or the Book of Revelation; also, any reading from the Bible other than the Gospels or Psalms.

Eucharist The central act of Christian worship and commemoration of the central events of Christian faith – also known as The Lord’s Supper, Communion, The Great Thanksgiving, and the Mass – in which bread and wine are consecrated by the celebrant and distributed to the people as the body and blood of Christ.

Evangelicals Episcopalians who identify with the teachings of Protestantism and the reformed tradition, emphasizing Scripture and the importance of individual conscience. Evangelicals are sometimes called “low church” because they believe Christ allows great freedom in organizing the church and its liturgical practices. Within Anglicanism, the term does not have the same meaning it has within American Protestantism, where the term usually refers to Christians who emphasize salvation and conversion.

General Convention The national triennial meeting of the Episcopal Church; dioceses send “deputies” or official representatives to General Convention.

Gospel The final lesson in The Word of God taken from one of the four Gospels in the New Testament. It is normally read by a Deacon or priest, and as a sign of reverence, the people and assisting ministers stand when the Gospel is proclaimed (see BCP, 326 or 357).

High Church A designation of a church emphasizing theological or liturgical formality; a church with several vested assistants and many fine utensils used in the service; a church that sings or chants its service rather than reading or speaking it; a church that celebrates the Eucharist every Sunday [though most Episcopal Churches do this now]. Such churches sometimes appear to be more “catholic”. See also Low Church.

Holy Orders The sacrament of ordination, which marks the entry of the candidate into the ordained ministry. The orders of bishops, priests and deacons are termed Holy Orders.

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Holy Spirit The third person of the Holy Trinity, also called the Holy Ghost. Jesus promised His followers, the Apostles, that He would send the Holy Spirit after His Crucifixion and Resurrection. The Spirit came to the disciples of Jesus on Pentecost. (Acts 2:1-36)

Host The consecrated bread in the Eucharist. Literally, a “sacrificial victim.”

House of Bishops All the bishops of the Episcopal Church sitting as a legislative and judiciary body of the church.

House of Deputies The lay and presbyter delegates to a general convention sitting as a legislative body.

Intercession To ask for something on someone’s behalf.

Intinction Administration of the consecrated bread and wine of the eucharist at the same time, typically by dipping the bread in the wine and placing the moistened host in the mouth. Depending on local practice, this may be done by the communicant or the one who administers the wine. Historically, intinction has also been done by dropping the bread into the wine and administering the moistened host with a spoon. The term is from the Latin for "dip in." The BCP directs that opportunity always be given to every communicant to receive the consecrated bread and wine separately. However, the eucharist may be received in both kinds simultaneously, in a manner approved by the bishop (pp. 407-408). Some communicants prefer intinction because of concerns about contagious diseases or alcohol consumption. Separate intinction cups are to be avoided because they contradict the symbolism of the common cup.

Kyrie In the early church, in the east, the Greek supplication Kyrie eleison (“Lord, have mercy”) was the common response to intercessory biddings addressed to the people. It is now used in the eucharist at the entrance rite and the general intercessions. 1) In the Episcopal Church, Kyrie eleison may be sung or said in place of the Gloria in excelsis in the entrance rite in seasons other than Christmas and Easter in Rite 2 services. It may be sung or said in place of or in addition to the Gloria in excelsis in Rite 1 services. Some parishes use it during the penitential season of Lent. Kyrie eleison alternates with Christe eleison (“Christ have mercy”). The chant may be sung or said threefold, sixfold, or ninefold, in Greek or in English (BCP, p. 406). 2) Kyrie eleison is the response in intercessory litanies such as Forms I and V of the prayers of the people, which are based on early eastern prayers (BCP, pp. 383, 389). At Christ Church, we sing the Kyrie during Lent.

Laity or Lay The baptized people or members of a church, as distinct from the clergy.

Lauds The ancient service at daybreak in the monastic round of daily prayer. This morning service of praise always included Psalms 148-150, in which the Latin word “laudate” (praise) is frequently emphasized. The name of this morning office is derived from the Latin term. The services of matins, lauds, and prime formed the basis of Cranmer's office of Matins in the 1549 Prayer Book, which became Morning Prayer in the 1552 BCP.

Lay Eucharistic Minister (LEM) Lay person licensed by the bishop to administer the consecrated elements of the eucharist. Lay eucharistic ministers may be licensed to administer the consecrated bread and wine at any celebration of the eucharist in the absence of a sufficient number of priests and deacons to assist the celebrant. They may also be licensed to go from a Sunday eucharist or other principal celebrations of the eucharist to share the sacrament with members of the congregation who were unable to be present at the celebration because of illness or infirmity. Lay eucharistic ministers may be licensed for either or both ministries. This ministry is understood to be an extraordinary ministry and is not to take the place of the ministry of priests and deacons concerning the administration of the eucharist. Prior to the current lay ministry canons, specially licensed lay readers administered the chalice at the eucharist and were known as “chalice bearers.”

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Lay Minister A person who is not ordained, but who works closely with a church or religious program. Some lay ministers are unpaid volunteers; some are paid staff members of a church.

Lay Preacher A lay person licensed by the bishop to preach. The lay preacher must be a confirmed adult communicant in good standing and recommended by the member of the clergy in charge of the congregation. Guidelines for training and selection of lay preachers are established by the bishop. A lay preacher is to be trained, examined, and found competent in the Holy Scriptures, the BCP and The Hymnal, the conduct of public worship, use of the voice, church history, Christian ethics and moral theology, the church's doctrine as set forth in the creeds and An Outline of the Faith (BCP, pp. 845-862), appropriate canons, pastoral care, and homiletics. A licensed lay preacher is to preach only upon the initiative and under the supervision of the member of the clergy in charge. Lay preachers may be commissioned for this ministry with a form adapted from the Commissioning for Lay Ministries in the Church in the BOS.

Lay Reader Any non-ordained person who participates in reading part of a church service. A lay reader may lead the Daily Offices of the church. If needed, a lay reader may lead the liturgy for the Holy Eucharist through the prayers of the people, concluding with the Lord's Prayer and the grace, or with the exchange of the peace (BCP, p. 407). Also called the Lector.

Laying on of Hands That part of the ordination service in which hands are laid on the head of the ordinand to manifest the giving of the Holy Spirit and empowerment for ministry.

Lectionary The appointed lessons and psalms for use at the Eucharist and Daily Offices. Available online here.

Lent The period of fasting, sobriety and meditation following Ash Wednesday; in the past Lent was widely associated with denial.

Lesson Also the Epistle; any reading from the Bible except the Gospels or Psalms; usually read on the opposite side of the church from where the Gospel is read; in older practice the Lesson was read from the “Epistle Side” – the right side facing the altar, while the Gospel was read from the “Gospel Side” – the left side.

Liturgical Colors See Colors, Liturgical

Liturgy The prescribed set of forms, and other activities associated with formal worship service.

Low Church A church that is less formal; a church that does not chant or sing its service; a church that alternates Morning Prayer with Eucharist; such churches sometimes appear to be more “protestant.”

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Mass The Roman Catholic name for the Christian sacramental meal but sometimes used by Anglo-Catholics to refer to Holy Communion or Eucharist; The celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Minister All members of the Church are ministers: Lay people, bishops, priests and deacons. (BCP, p. 855)

Ministry From the Latin mini, “lesser.” The term has the same form as the Latin magister, from magis, “greater,” meaning “master” or “teacher.” Ministry appears in the Vulgate translation of Mt 20:26, “he who would be great [Latin, maior] among you, let him be your minister,” translating the underlying Greek diakonos, “servant,” as “minister.” Thus, ministry entered the Christian vocabulary referring to the Christian vocation to serve. Ministry refers to the work and office of the one who ministers.

Mission From the Latin “to send.” Christian mission is the sending forth to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. The authority for Christian mission is based in Christ and known through the power of the Holy Spirit. Christian mission is understood to be a response to Jesus' command for his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19) and to St. Paul's question, how are people to proclaim Jesus “unless they are sent?” (Rom 10:15). The Catechism notes that the mission of the church is “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” The church pursues its mission “as it prays and worships, proclaims the gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love.” This mission is carried out through all members of the church (BCP, p. 855). In 1835 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church recognized that all members of the church are called to be missionaries, although this identity has not yet been fulfilled in practice.

Mission, Organized A local church that is not a parish. See Congregation.

Missional Communities Missional communities are spiritual and relational outposts for those that cannot, or will not, participate in a traditional expression of Church. Starting, building, and maintaining missional communities is one of the main outreaches of the Diocese of Texas.Examples of missional communities are Warrior Church, the Maker Church, or Tabletop Role Playing Games.

Narthex An entry space, foyer, or anteroom of a church between the door and the nave. The term is from the Greek for a “small case.” Historically, the narthex was an enclosed vestibule or porch of a basilica. Catechumens and penitents stood in the narthex during the service. It also may serve as a place for the gathering and formation of processions and a place for people to wait before services begin.

Nave The place in the church building for the congregation. It is between the sanctuary and the narthex or entry of the church building. The term may be derived from the Latin navis, “ship,” which was an early symbol of the church.

Nicene Creed, The It was first issued by the Council of Nicaea in 325, but in the form used today it is frequently thought to have been perfected at the Council of Constantinople in 381. There is no doubt that it was passed on to the church through the Council of Chalcedon in 451. It is commonly held to be based on the baptismal creed of Jerusalem, and it is often referred to as the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. It states the full divinity of the Son, the second Person of the Trinity. It also states the full divinity of the Holy Spirit. The use of the Nicene Creed in the eucharist (right after the gospel), in contrast to the use of the Apostles' Creed in baptism, began in the fifth century in Antioch and became the universal practice in the church. The Nicene Creed is expressed in its original form of “We believe” in the Rite ᇁ eucharistic liturgy of the 1979 BCP, and this communal expression of faith is also presented as the first option in the Rite ᇀ eucharistic liturgy. The Rite ᇀ eucharistic liturgy also offers the “I believe” form as a second option (see BCP, pp. 326-327, 358).

Offertory In the Eucharist, the worshippers’ offering of bread, wine, and alms at the altar.

Office, Daily Use of daily prayers to mark the times of the day and to express the traditions of the praying community is traditional in Judaism and in Christianity. The congregational or cathedral form of office developed in Christianity with the principal morning and evening services of lauds and vespers. The people participated in the cathedral form of office. The monastic form of office also developed at this time. In addition to lauds and vespers, After the Anglican Reformation, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) reduced the eight monastic offices to the two services of Morning and Evening Prayer. Participation in the Daily Office is at the heart of Anglican spirituality. In addition to forms for Daily Morning Prayer and Daily Evening Prayer in contemporary and traditional language, the BCP section for the Daily Office includes forms for Noonday Prayer, Order of Worship for the Evening, Compline, and Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families. These offices include prayers, a selection from the Psalter, readings from the Holy Scriptures, one or more canticles, and the Lord's Prayer. The term "office" is a form of the Latin "opus" meaning to work or applying the mind to learning and understanding a subject (especially by reading}.

Ordinary An ancient and now bemusing term used to refer to the diocesan bishop. Survives most often in the wonderful job title Canon to the Ordinary.

Ordinary Times This term is used to indicate the parts of the liturgical year that are not included in the major seasons of the church calendar. Ordinary time includes the Monday after the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord through the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, and the Monday after Pentecost through the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent. Ordinary time can be understood in terms of the living out of Christian faith and the meaning of Christ’s resurrection in ordinary life. The term “ordinary time” is not used in the Prayer Book, but the season after Pentecost can be considered ordinary time. It may be referred to as the “green season,” because green is the usual liturgical color for this period of the church year. The term "ordinary" comes from the word "ordinal," meaning designating the place (such as first, second, or third) occupied by an item in an ordered sequence. Sundays in ordinary time are designated as "the First Sunday after Pentecost, the Second Sunday after Pentecost,…"

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Pall 1) A square, stiffened white linen cloth that is used to cover the chalice at the eucharist. There may be a design on the side of the pall that does not touch the chalice. 2) A cloth used to cover the coffin at the Burial of the Dead. The BCP states that the coffin is to be closed before the burial service. The coffin may be covered with a pall or other suitable covering (p. 468). The colors of white or gold, associated with Easter and resurrection, are especially appropriate for the pall.

Parish A local congregation that is in union with the diocese.

Peace, The Also known as Passing the Peace; a 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 with you.” Immediately after these words people shake hands or speak or sometimes embrace in the church.

Priest A cleric in one of the three orders of ordained ministry. The ministry of a priest is to represent Christ and His Church, particularly as pastor to the people; to share with the bishop the overseeing of the Church; to proclaim the Gospel; to administer the sacraments; and to bless and declare pardon in the name of God.

Priest-in-Charge A priest retained full-time or part-time with a contract, by annual appointment of the bishop, who is responsible for liturgy, pastoral care, and administrative tasks as negotiated with the vestry. A Priest-in-Charge is not normally eligible to become the rector unless specified in his or her contract and serves in a parish that is not actively engaged in a search process. The precise role of the Priest-in-Charge is determined by the contract.

Presiding Bishop The elected episcopal head of the Episcopal Church; the chief administrator and spiritual head of the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church does not refer to its head bishop as an archbishop. The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry is the current Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Primate The bishop with pastoral and administrative responsibility and authority for a group of dioceses that constitute a Church. A primate is sometimes called a metropolitan. Current primates are the Presiding Bishop in the case of the Episcopal Church, and the Archbishop of Canterbury in the case of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.

Proper Variable parts of the eucharistic liturgy and the Daily Office which are appointed for a particular day according to the season or occasion. These parts of the liturgy may be contrasted with the fixed portions and options of the liturgy which do not vary with the season or occasion. The proper for the Eucharist includes the collect, the lessons, the selection from the Psalter, and the proper preface. The BCP collects for the church year are presented in both traditional and contemporary language versions (pp. 159-261). The Lectionary provides readings and psalms for the Eucharist (BCP, pp. 889-931). The Daily Office Lectionary provides readings and psalms for Morning and Evening Prayer (BCP, pp. 936-1001). Propers for the Sundays in the Season after Pentecost are numbered one through twenty-nine.

Province An organizational and geographical unit of the Episcopal Church consisting of several dioceses. The Diocese of Texas is part of Province Ⅶ, Province of the Southwest, which also includes the Diocese of Arkansas, Diocese of Dallas, Diocese of Kansas, Diocese of Oklahoma, Diocese of the Rio Grande, Diocese of West Missouri, Diocese of West Texas, and the Diocese of Western Kansas.

Reason One of the three equal cornerstones of the Anglican Faith, the others being Scripture and Tradition. Anglicans hold that in questions of faith no one of these three holds all the answers all of the time. The inclusion of Reason here is a distinctly Anglican feature.

Rector A full-time priest elected by a vestry with the bishop‘s approval, thereby having tenure. The responsibility for the conduct of worship and the spiritual jurisdiction of the parish are vested in the rector, subject to the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer, the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church and the diocese, and the pastoral direction of the bishop.

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Rite Ⅰ A portion of the Book of Common Prayer which contains worship services using the older, traditional language of the 1928 edition of the prayerbook. The Rite Ⅰ liturgies reflect the language and piety of the Elizabethan era and the first BCP, although the structure of these liturgies also reflects the influence of modern liturgical scholarship.

Rite Ⅱ A portion of the Book of Common Prayer containing worship services which use more modern language. The Rite Ⅱ liturgies reflect more fully the influence of the liturgical movement and contemporary theology. Rite Ⅱ liturgies tend to reflect greater sensitivity for inclusive language issues.

Rubric A ceremonial or other direction given in the BCP, now typically printed in italics. Rubrics were printed in red in medieval service books. The term “rubric” is derived from the Latin word for “red.”

Sanctuary 1. Holy place, usually the worship space of a church. Sanctuary may mean the area around the altar, especially in liturgical churches. It may be separated from the rest of the church by an altar rail. It may refer to the entire chancel area, including the choir and/or the space reserved for the clergy. It may also refer to the entire interior of the church where worship takes place. 2. Historically, a sanctuary would be a place of safe refuge for criminals or fugitives. This is also known as the right of sanctuary. It is based on the understanding that holy places such as churches are not subject to the powers of this world. In modern times, churches have provided sanctuary for refugees and undocumented immigrants. The right of sanctuary in cities of refuge was available in OT times for one who killed a person without intent (Nm 35:9-15; Ex 21:13).

Sanctus Bell A bell rung by a server during the eucharist to emphasize and call attention to particular moments in the liturgy. The bell may be a small hand bell or set of bells, or a gong rung with a clapper, or the tower bell of the church. The term is based on the practice of ringing the bell three times during the Sanctus. The practice of accompanying the Sanctus with bells dates from the fifteenth century. It is also traditionally rung during the institution narrative when the celebrant elevates the elements of bread and wine, especially in parishes with an Anglo-Catholic piety.

Sanctus, The Taken from the Latin for “holy,” a hymn of adoration and praise which begins, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts.” It typically follows the preface in the eucharistic prayer (BCP, pp. 334, 341, 362, 367, 371, 373, 402, 404). It is sung or said by the celebrant and people. The Sanctus is based on the song of the seraphim as recorded in Isaiah's vision of the Lord in the year King Uzziah died (Isaiah 6:1-3; see Revelation 4:8). The congregation may be said to share in the praise of God that is continually offered by the whole company of heaven. The Sanctus has been accompanied by bells since the fifteenth century in some places.

Scripture The Bible – one of the three equal cornerstones of the Anglican faith, the others being Tradition and Reason. Anglicans hold that in questions of faith no one of these three holds all the answers all of the time. The Episcopal tradition has a rich history that includes the extensive reading of the Bible in church services. The Bible is of extraordinary importance to Episcopal worship; during a Sunday morning service, the congregation will usually hear at least three readings from Scripture, and much of the liturgy from The Book of Common Prayer is based explicitly on the Biblical texts. According to the Catechism, “We understand the meaning of the Bible by the help of the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church in the true interpretation of the Scriptures.” (p. 853-4) The Episcopal Church primarily uses the New Revised Standard Version (NSRV) of the Bible although several other translations are acaceptable.

See The bishop's throne or chair. The term is from the Latin, “seat.” The episcopal throne is a symbol of the bishop's authority and jurisdiction. It is typically located in the cathedral of the diocese. By extension, the location of the cathedral or church with the bishop's throne is known as the bishop's see. For example, Houston is the See city of the Diocese of Texas.

Stewardship Our personal response to God's generosity in the way we share our resources of time, talent, and money. Stewardship reflects our commitment to making God's love known through the realities of human life and our use of all that God has given us. It is also our service to God's world and our care of creation. Parish members are encouraged to make an annual stewardship pledge. This pledge represents their specific Christian commitment to “work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God” (BCP, p. 856). View the diocesan web page for more information about stewardship in the Diocese of Texas.

Supply Clergy A priest employed on a per diem basis to officiate at liturgies and to provide limited, specified pastoral care. A priest who serves as supply clergy during an interim period is not eligible to become the rector.

Tithe A tithe is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory tax to the government. After the separation of church and state, church tax linked to the tax system are instead used in many countries to support their national church. Donations to the church beyond what is owed in the tithe, or by those attending a congregation who are not members or adherents, are known as offerings and often are designated for specific purposes such as a building program, debt retirement, or mission work.

Many Christian denominations hold Jesus taught that tithing must be done in conjunction with a deep concern for "justice, mercy and faithfulness" (Matthew 23:23). Tithing was taught at early Christian church councils. Tithing remains an essential doctrine in many Christian denominations. Some Christian Churches, such as those in the Methodist tradition, teach the concept of Storehouse Tithing, which emphasizes that tithes must be prioritized and given to the local church before offerings can be made to apostolates or charities. Christians still believe that everything they have comes from God, so it’s only natural that they “tithe” a portion of their earnings in thanksgiving to the God they serve. Ultimately, the 10% tithe is only the beginning of what generosity could look like for the Church. The guideline for tithing and offering today is aptly explained by Paul. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (Ⅱ Corinthians 9:6-7)

Tradition One of the three equal cornerstones of the Anglican Faith, the others being Scripture and Reason. Anglicans hold that in questions of faith no one of these three holds all the answers all of the time.

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Trinity, The A fundamental symbol of the Christian faith and a very important doctrine in catholic Christianity; refers to the oneness and essential unity of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Trisagion An ancient hymn of the eastern church. “Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon us” (BCP, p. 356). The term is from the Greek, meaning “thrice holy.” The 1979 BCP is the first Prayer Book to use the Trisagion as an alternative for the Kyrie at the opening of the eucharistic rite (p. 356). The Kyrie or Trisagion are normally used at the opening of the rite in Advent and Lent. The BOS recommends use of the Trisagion in the Way of the Cross as the procession goes from station to station and may also be used to conclude each station. At Christ Church, the trisagion is sung during Advent.

Vespers The early evening office of prayer in the church. The term is from the Latin word for “evening.” Lucernarium (lamp or lamp-lighting time) was an early name for vespers. Early Christians continued the Jewish custom of prayer at the time when daylight faded and the lamps were lit. Lauds and vespers, the two most important of the canonical day hours of prayer, were said at dawn and sunset. Vespers has also been called the “evening sacrifice” of prayer. Ps 141:2, “Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice,” has been traditionally associated with vespers. Archbishop Cranmer combined vespers with other offices for the BCP office of Evening Prayer. In addition to Evening Prayer, the 1979 BCP provides a form of evening service or vespers for use in the late afternoon or evening (p. 109). This vespers service, An Order of Worship for the Evening, may be used in place of Evening Prayer or it may serve as the introduction to Evening Prayer (BCP, p. 108). It may include a candle-lighting (BCP, p. 112).

Vestments The distinctive clothing worn by leaders of liturgy especially priests and deacons.

Vestry The vestry is the legal representative of the parish egarding all matters pertaining to its corporate property. The number of vestry members and the term of office varies from parish to parish. Vestry members are usually elected at the annual parish meeting. The presiding officer of the vestry is the rector. There are usually two wardens. The senior warden leads the parish between rectors and is a support person for the rector. The junior warden often has responsibility for church property and buildings. A treasurer and a secretary or clerk may be chosen. These officers may or may not be vestry members. The basic responsibilities of the vestry are to help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; to support the church’s mission by word and deed, to select the rector, to ensure effective organization and planning, and to manage resources and finances.

Vicar A priest, serving full-time or part-time, with charge and responsibility for a mission or aided parish, appointed by the bishop for a period of one year, renewable. A vicar is eligible to become rector when the mission becomes a parish, or when the parish becomes financially independent of the diocese for basic expenses. Under the bishop, a vicar has the same responsibilities as a rector, but does not have tenure.

Warden, or Churchwarden Parish by-laws provide for the election of two wardens. Both wardens are members of the vestry. The wardens are generally ranked “senior” or “Bishop's” and “junior” or “People's.” The mode of selection and duties of the wardens are determined by diocesan canon or parish by-laws. The senior warden is usually the primary elected lay leader of the congregation. The senior warden typically presides at vestry meetings in the absence of the rector, and the junior warden presides at vestry meetings if both the rector and the senior warden are absent. In case of clerical vacancy, the senior warden may be the ecclesiastical authority of the parish for certain purposes. Historically in the Church of England, one warden was named by the priest and the other chosen by the congregation.

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