An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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An annual directory of the Episcopal Church. It contains the names and addresses of all parishes and diocesan offices, bishops, priests and deacons, seminaries, publications, conference centers, social agencies, religious orders, and other agencies. It also contains national church statistics and... Read More »

The national headquarters for the Episcopal Church, located in New York City. It includes the executive offices of the Presiding Bishop. It is the place where the fiduciary responsibilities for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society are carried out; a focal point for the work of General... Read More »

On Oct. 16, 1940, the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies adopted an official flag for the Episcopal Church. This was the 251st anniversary of the day the General Convention ratified the Constitution and Canons and adopted the BCP. It was designed by William M. Baldwin (d. 1942), a member of... Read More »

(Jan27, 1952-Aug. 18, 1957). This journal continued The Southern Churchman, which began publication in 1835. The first volume of Episcopal Churchnews was published on Jan. 27, 1952. It was weekly until Sept. 20, 1953, when it became bi-weekly. It carried the motto "Catholic for every Truth of... Read More »

See Episcopal Church Flag and Seal.

A conference of three clergy and twenty-four lay delegates met at Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland, on Nov. 9, 1780, and resolved that "the Church formerly known in the Province as the Church of England should now be called the Protestant Episcopal Church." On Aug. 13, 1783, the... Read More »

A compilation of clergy biographies was first published in 1898. Over the years it was variously called Lloyd's Clerical Directory, The American Church Directory, and Stowe's Clerical Directory. In 1956 the name was changed to The Clergy Directory. In 1972 it was changed to The Episcopal... Read More »

EDS was established at Cambridge, Massachusetts, on June 6, 1974, by the merger of the Philadelphia Divinity School and the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, with the encouragement of the Episcopal Church's Board for Theological Education. The faculty and student body are mostly... Read More »

It is published by the Fellowship of Witness, the American branch of the Evangelical Fellowship of the Anglican Communion. The first issue appeared in July 1994.

In 1831 the widow of William Holland Wilmer opened a school adjacent to Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. The school was in a house called Howard, and it was known as the Howard School for Boys. It closed in 1834. At the 1837 Convention of the Diocese of Virginia, it was... Read More »

Conceived as the lay ministry companion volume to the Episcopal Clerical Directory, this resource contained detailed biographical information about lay leaders in the Episcopal Church. First published in 1980 by Church Publishing Incorporated, it was produced every two years until 1998, the last of... Read More »

This monthly journal is an official publication of the Episcopal Church "that seeks faithfully and fully to support the whole life of the Church and its mission, encouraging all people in their commitment to Jesus Christ." It began publication in Apr. 1990, and replaced The Episcopalian. It is... Read More »

This weekly publication was a leading periodical standing for low church evangelical principles. It began publication on June 22, 1822, in Philadelphia, under the name The Church Record. With the Apr. 5, 1823, issue the name was changed to The Philadelphia Recorder. On Apr. 2, 1831, the name was... Read More »

A ring worn by a bishop as a sign of the bishop's office. It is worn on the third finger of the right hand. It is one of the traditional symbols of episcopal office. It may be given to a newly ordained bishop after the presentation of the Bible and the formula "Receive the Holy Scriptures" at... Read More »

Services in which a bishop presides. A bishop presides at Confirmation/Reception/Reaffirmation (BCP, p. 413), and a bishop may preside or officiate at any service. A section of the BCP is designated Episcopal Services. This section includes Ordination of a Bishop (p. 512), a Priest (p. 525), or a... Read More »

Predecessor to Episcopal Divinity School. The school was founded at Cambridge, Massachusetts, by a group of prominent Boston businessmen in 1867 to be a place of preparation for holy orders and an Episcopal presence at Harvard University. It provided a place of worship for Episcopal undergraduates... Read More »

A diocesan seminary which was originally begun in 1958 as an extension program through the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) in the Diocese of Los Angeles. CDSP intended the school to serve students who were not able to study at their Berkeley campus. In 1962 CDSP could no longer... Read More »

Former diocesan seminary. It was founded in 1834 at Lexington by Bishop Benjamin Bosworth Smith to educate clergy for the western frontier. The school was granted a charter on Feb. 24, 1834. It went into a quick decline because of financial troubles in 1837 and controversy between the diocese and... Read More »

The seminary was founded in 1961, and its chapel was dedicated on Jan. 11, 1962, by Presiding Bishop Arthur Lichtenberger. The seminary trained more than seventy persons for ministry. It closed in 1976.

The idea for a seminary in Austin, Texas, was initiated in 1945. The Rt. Rev. Clinton S. Quinn, Bishop of Texas, approached the Board of Trustees of the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary about training Episcopal students at the Presbyterian seminary in a cooperative program. Nothing came of... Read More »

A bishop's official pastoral visit to a congregation of the diocese. Canon law requires every diocesan bishop to visit every congregation in his or her diocese at least once every three years. The canonical purposes of a visitation are for the bishop to examine the condition of the... Read More »

The 1988 General Convention passed the legislation which created Episcopal Visitors. This legislation was to deal pastorally with those bishops, priests, deacons, and lay persons who were unable to accept women bishops. It allowed the Presiding Bishop to designate members of the House of Bishops to... Read More »

This journal was published at Hartford, Connecticut, from Mar. 26, 1827, until Nov. 2, 1833, when it was absorbed by the Churchman. Its motto was "the Gospel of Christ in the Church of Christ." It was founded and at first edited and published by George Washington Doane and William Croswell (1804-... Read More »

A member of the Episcopal Church. The term is used as a noun, not as an adjective. The term can be applied to a member of any church under the leadership of bishops. See Episcopal.

A collection of hymns that was approved by General Convention and published in 1811 by John Cole in Baltimore. It was reprinted in 1817. The layout of text and music employed by Cole in this collection was adopted in Episcopal chant collections for the next several decades.

Predecessor to Episcopal Life. This monthly journal began publication in Apr. 1960, and continued Forth and The Spirit of Missions. The first issue stated that it was published by the Church Magazine Advisory Board by authority of the General Convention. It continued the numbering of The Spirit of... Read More »

Church governance under the leadership of bishops. The term is from the Greek for "overseer." The Prayer Book service for the ordination of a bishop states that a bishop "is called to be one with the apostles in proclaiming Christ's resurrection and interpreting the Gospel, and... Read More »

"Wandering bishops" who acquired episcopal orders in an irregular or surreptitious manner. They are unaffiliated with any historic Christian body or jurisdiction. Their episcopal acts have questionable validity. See Jurisdiction (episcopal); see Independent Bishops.

Literally, a letter, the name was given to the first of the two NT readings in the eucharist. The majority of these passages were taken from the epistolary literature of the NT, such as the letters of Paul to communities of Christians in various places. On occasion, other books (Acts, Revelation,... Read More »

See Gospel Side.

The lector who reads the epistle in the liturgy of the word at the eucharist. The term "epistle" may be applied to any NT reading at the eucharist, including a selection from the epistles, Acts, or Revelation. The epistoler may be vested, depending on local custom.

Concerning the solitary life of a hermit. In Christianity, the earliest hermits were the Desert Fathers of third-century Egypt. Some religious orders, like the Carthusians, retain elements of the eremitic lifestyle in their rule. They live in separate dwellings but gather for meals and worship. See... Read More »

When the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania was organized in 1910, it was called the Diocese of Erie. It used that name until Nov. 14, 1981, when the name was changed to the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Theology of the last things, the end of time and history, the coming of the Kingdom of God. Use of the term dates from the nineteenth century. It is from the Greek, eschatos, "last." Eschatology concerns the final end and meaning of all things, but it is possible to distinguish individual, social,... Read More »

The term (from the Greek, eschaton, "last") denotes the end of history when God will act decisively to establish the divine rule of justice and peace throughout the created order. Jesus refers to the eschaton as "the Kingdom of God," which he proclaimed to have "come near" (Mk 1:15). In Christian... Read More »

This volume, published in England in 1860, was a significant collection of essays advocating a free and open interpretation of Holy Scripture. It included essays by Mark Pattison, Benjamin Jowett, and Frederick Temple. The collection was condemned in 1861 by the bishops of the Church of England... Read More »


Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.