An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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(1665-Sept. 10, 1717). Colonial rector and missionary. He was born in Algiers, France, of Huguenot parents. Le Jau fled France when the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685. The Edict of Nantes had given freedom to the French Huguenots. He went to England. At some time before 1700 he was a Canon in... Read More »

A mission development program for the church in small communities. It is primarily designed to serve archdeacons, rural deans, rectors of cluster parishes, members of diocesan boards or commissions, or others concerned with planning, training, coordination, or supervision in areas having small... Read More »

A joint venture of the Standing Commission on Church Music and the Virginia Theological Seminary. The goal of the program's work is to discover and implement ways to help small parishes in church music endeavors which might lead to more effective, inclusive, and inspirational worship. The... Read More »

(1717-Sept. 15, 1804). The first person elected Bishop in Connecticut, Leaming declined to be consecrated because of age and infirmities. Born in Middletown, Connecticut, Leaming was baptized on May 12, 1717, at Durham, Connecticut, as a Congregationalist. He graduated from Yale College in 1745.... Read More »

A book stand or reading desk that holds the book used for reading scripture in public worship. It may also be used for preaching the Word, and it may hold the preacher's notes or sermon text. The lectern where the Word is read and preached is the focal point for attention during the liturgy of... Read More »

The liturgical reading of selections of scripture by starting at the beginning of a particular book and working through consecutive readings to the end. This contrasts with selective readings ("propers") which are chosen for each particular occasion. At the time of the early church, readings in the... Read More »

The term means, at root, the "reading of Holy Scripture." In Jerome and in the Rule of St. Benedict, it meant the scriptural text itself, the lectio, the "lesson" or reading. In the middle ages it came to refer to the act of reading the Bible, the sacred text, for a sacred purpose. It was a... Read More »

See Lesson.

An ordered system for reading the Holy Scriptures at the eucharist and the Daily Offices. It is usually presented in the form of a table of references for the psalms and readings for the various days of the liturgical year, although it may be a separate book containing the actual texts of the... Read More »

The Lectionary in the BCP and other contemporary lectionaries use a three-year cycle, referred to as Years A, B, and C. Year A begins on the First Sunday in Advent in years evenly divisible by three (e.g., 2001). The Daily Office lectionary follows a two-year cycle. Year One begins on the First... Read More »

A lay person trained in reading scripture who is appointed by the clergy person in charge of the congregation to read lessons or lead the prayers of the people. The term is from the Latin, "to read." There is no license required for this lay ministry. A lector may also be known as a reader. Lay... Read More »

(Sept. 9, 1807-Apr. 12, 1887). Tenth Presiding Bishop. Lee was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University in 1827 and then studied law. He later studied for ordained ministry and graduated from the General Theological Seminary in 1837. Lee was ordained deacon on May 21,... Read More »

In 1865 Judge Asa Packer (1805-1879) asked the Rt. Rev. William Bacon Stevens (1815-1887), the fourth Bishop of Pennsylvania, to help him plan a university. On Feb. 9, 1866, a charter was granted, and the school opened on Sept. 1, 1866, with 40 students. The first four presidents of Lehigh... Read More »

Early Christians observed "a season of penitence and fasting" in preparation for the Paschal feast, or Pascha (BCP, pp. 264-265). The season now known as Lent (from an Old English word meaning "spring," the time of lengthening days) has a long history. Originally, in places where Pascha was... Read More »

Lenten array usually refers to a rough or homespun fabric. It may have an off-white color or it may be made without any dye. Lenten array may be decorated with purple or dark orpheys and Lenten designs. Use of Lenten array follows the custom from the late middle ages of using dark or drab colors... Read More »

(d. Nov. 10, 461). Defender of orthodox Christology and pope. On Sept. 29, 440, he was consecrated Bishop of Rome. He was a great opponent of heresy, and his major accomplishment was his condemnation of Eutyches and Monophysitism and his defense of the permanent distinction of Christ's two... Read More »

A collection of proper collects, lessons, and psalms for the eucharist on each of the weekdays of Lent, weekdays of Easter season, and each of the lesser feasts of the church year. It also includes a biographical or historical sketch for the lesser feasts and fixed holy days. The General Convention... Read More »

In monastic and religious communities, the silence that should be kept in working hours. Local regulations may tie it to specific times and places. It is generally less absolute than the Great Silence of evening and night hours. It is most complete among Trappists (Reformed Cistercians), who... Read More »

A selection of scripture that serves as a reading for a church service. It is also known as a lection or a reading. The BCP appoints lessons for the eucharist in the Lectionary (pp. 889-931), and it appoints lessons for Morning and Evening Prayer in the Daily Office Lectionary (pp. 936-1001).... Read More »

A written agreement concerning terms of employment, either for a priest in charge of a congregation or a member of a diocesan staff. Several dioceses provide for Letters of Agreement to specify terms of a call to serve as rector or vicar of a congregation, and for other positions within a diocese.... Read More »

This term was previously used for a certificate of membership, typically used when a member of a congregation in the Episcopal Church moves to another congregation.

Clergy may transfer canonical residence from one diocesan jurisdiction to another by presentation of Letters Dimissory from the ecclesiastical authority of the former diocese to the ecclesiastical authority of the new diocese. It is a testimonial by the ecclesiastical authority of the former... Read More »

(C. S.) (Nov. 29, 1898-Nov. 22, 1963). Author and one of the best-known Christian apologists in the Anglican Communion. Lewis's works included literary history, criticism, essays, three science fiction novels with spiritual themes, speeches, and the well-known children's stories, The... Read More »

A Latin phrase often used in the study of liturgy, it means "the rule of prayer [is] the rule of belief." The phrase describes the pervasive pastoral reality that habits of prayer shape Christian belief. Official provisions for worship can thus have a determinative role in shaping Christian... Read More »

The General Convention of 1895 voted to divide the Diocese of Kentucky to create a new diocese in the eastern half of the state. The Diocese of Lexington held its primary convention at Christ Church, Lexington, Dec. 4-5, 1895. Christ Church, Lexington, was dedicated as Christ Church Cathedral on... Read More »

This volume, published in 1934, was inspired by the English publication, Essays Catholic and Critical (1926). The volume stressed the Catholic tradition and a liberal, critical approach to biblical and historical studies. Liberal catholics wanted "to preserve the best of the past in the light of... Read More »

Liberal catholicism, as a theological development in Anglicanism, had its beginnings in the publication of Lux Mundi (1889), a collection of essays written by Oxford Anglican teachers and edited by Charles Gore. Lux Mundi took the doctrine of the Incarnation as a central theme for interpreting... Read More »

Within Anglican churches evangelicalism is the name given to the movement founded and fostered by John Wesley. Those followers of Wesley who did not stay inside the Church of England became known as Methodists. Those who remained in the Church of England formed the evangelical party, which took... Read More »

Gustavo Gutiérrez notes in A Theology of Liberation (1973) that the problem which liberation theology seeks to address is "what relation is there between salvation and the historical process in the liberation of man?" This distinguishes liberation theology from any attempt at making human... Read More »

The 1844 General Convention established the Missionary District of Cape Palmas and Parts Adjacent. The first Missionary Bishop of the District was John Payne, after whom the Bishop Payne Divinity School for African Americans in Petersburg was named. In 1884 the House of Bishops elected Samuel David... Read More »

This serves as a certificate of successfully completed study by a seminarian, but it is not an academic degree. A student without a bachelor's degree or equivalent who has fulfilled all the requirements for the M.Div. degree is eligible for the Licentiate in Theology. Many seminaries no longer... Read More »

(Jan. 8, 1900-Sept. 3, 1968). Twenty-first Presiding Bishop. Lichtenberger was a leading ecumenical churchman. He was a member of the General Board of the National Council of Churches and a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches. In 1961 he made an unofficial visit to Pope... Read More »

An early ecumenical movement seeking, along with the Faith and Order Movement, the reunion of the separated Christian churches. Unlike the Faith and Order Movement, whose principal concern was theological, Life and Work emphasized the practical cooperation of separated churches in the moral,... Read More »

The educational and fundraising publication of the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief. It began publication in Dec. 1988. Read More »

This collection was published in 1993 by the Church Hymnal Corporation as a supplement to The Hymnal 1982. It contains 234 hymns and songs, and thirty-six selections of service music for the Holy Eucharist. The music is drawn from the following genres: Negro spirituals, traditional and contemporary... Read More »

This collection was published in 1981 by the Church Hymnal Corporation as a supplement to The Hymnal (1940). The project was conceived by the Rev. Franklin D. Turner, staff officer for Black Ministries at the time, and later Suffragan Bishop of Pennsylvania. The volume contains 151 selections and... 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.