An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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See Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Music.

An invitation extended to baptized communicants in good standing of one church to receive the Holy Eucharist of another church. The practice is to be distinguished from "free communion" in which "all who love the Lord Jesus" are invited to communion.

This policy allows sermons to be delivered at public worship by persons who are not ordained or specially licensed to preach. In the Episcopal Church, sermons are normally given by a member of the clergy. The canons provide that a confirmed lay person with appropriate training and demonstrated... Read More »

From as early as 1792, members of the Episcopal Church were concerned about clergy from other Christian traditions speaking in Episcopal churches. The canon, "Of persons Not Ministers in this Church Officiating in any Congregation Thereof," forbade this. The 1907 General Convention amended this... Read More »

In the Holy Eucharist the opening acclamation is the greeting of the people by the presider and their response, which begins the service (BCP, pp. 323, 355). Its purpose is to bring the congregation corporately into dialogue with the presider and set a tone for the celebration.

These versicles and responses occur at the beginning of the Daily Offices: "Lord open our lips" at Morning Prayer (BCP, pp. 42, 80; The Hymnal 1982, S 1, S 33) and "O God make speed to save us" at the other offices (BCP, pp. 63, 103, 117, 128; The Hymnal 1982, S 26, S 33). Although they are the... Read More »

See Sentences (Opening).

The traditional posture of early Christian prayer involved one standing with the arms raised and extended like the letter "Y" with the palms uplifted. In the early church the entire congregation prayed in this position. Today, except among charismatics, it is usually only the presider who uses the... Read More »

A place of worship other than a parish church or cathedral. The term is from Latin, "place of prayer." It is a place of prayer set apart for the use of a particular group or individual or for worship in a specific context or situation. For example, the term may be applied to a cemetery chapel, a... Read More »

1) Concerning the form or structure of a liturgical service. The BCP provides "orders" for services at noonday (pp. 103-107) and in the evening (pp. 109-114). The BCP also provides orders for eucharist (pp. 400-405), marriage (pp. 435-436), and burial (pp. 506-507). These "orders" are often used as... Read More »

See Noonday, An Order of Service for.

A form of evening service or vespers for use in the late afternoon or evening. It may be used as a complete rite instead of Evening Prayer, or as the introduction to Evening Prayer or another service, or as the prelude to an evening meal or other activity. It may also be used in private homes (BCP... Read More »

See Order (2).

Since the sixteenth century the word "Ordinal" has been used in Anglicanism to refer to the texts of the rites for ordination. The 1549 BCP did not include the ordination rites. These were printed separately in 1550 with the title "The Form and Manner of Making and Consecrating of Archbishops,... Read More »

One who is ordained at the ordination of a bishop, priest, or deacon.

A diocesan bishop, as distinct from a suffragan, assistant, or coadjutor bishop. The term apparently springs from the understanding of "ordinary jurisdiction" which is held in canon law to be the jurisdiction "permanently and irremovably annexed to" the office of bishop.

This term is used in the Roman Catholic Church 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... Read More »

A sacramental rite of the church by which God gives authority and the grace of the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by bishops to those being made bishops, priests, and deacons (BCP, pp. 860-861). The three distinct orders of bishops, priests, and deacons have been... Read More »

In 1976 the General Convention approved the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate in the Episcopal Church and stated that such ordinations might begin on Jan. 1, 1977. Similar resolutions had been narrowly defeated at the 1970 and 1973 General Conventions. A 1967 General... Read More »

The 1853 General Convention created the Missionary District of Oregon and Washington Territory. The 1880 General Convention divided this Missionary District into the Missionary District of Oregon and the Missionary District of Washington. See Oregon, Diocese of; see Olympia, Diocese of; see Spokane... Read More »

On Oct. 13, 1853, the General Convention created the Missionary District of Oregon and Washington Territory. On Oct. 15, 1880, the General Convention divided it into the Missionary District of Washington and the Missionary District of Oregon. The primary convention of the Diocese of Oregon met at... Read More »

The shared sinful condition of all humanity. This Christian doctrine is drawn from the Pauline writings, such as Rom 5:12-19 and 1 Cor 15:21-22, which suggest that humanity shares by nature in the fall of Adam described in Gn 3. Paul likewise urges that the consequences for humanity of Adam's fall... Read More »

A prayer, an address to God. The term is from the Latin, "oration."

The common name for a rubric inserted in the 1559 BCP just before Morning Prayer: "And here is to be noted that the minister at the time of the communion, and at all other times in his ministration, shall use such ornaments in the church as were in use by authority of Parliament in the second year... Read More »

Items of symbolic or decorative value in church, such as an altar cross, a processional cross, and altar candles. There was considerable controversy in the Episcopal Church during the latter part of the nineteenth century concerning the use of church ornaments and other ritual or ceremonial... Read More »

An ornamental band of contrasting material on a vestment or altar hanging.

See Peace, The.

See Monstrance.

(Jan. 27, 1800-Apr. 23, 1863). Bishop and educator. He was born in Liberty in Bedford County, Virginia. Otey graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1820 and then served there as a tutor for a year. In 1821 he became the principal of Harpeth Academy in Maury County, Tennessee. From 1823... Read More »

See Catechism.

A nineteenth-century movement which reasserted the apostolic and catholic heritage of Anglicanism. The Oxford Movement is also known as the Catholic Revival. It emphasized the church's identity as the divine society and the sacramental character of the church's corporate life. It also sought to... Read More »

Pertaining or belonging to Oxford, England. (From Oxoniensis, a latinized form of the Middle English Oxenford). Usages include reference to degrees and diplomas conferred by the University of Oxford and the ecclesiastical, titular surname of the Bishop of the Diocese of Oxford in the Church of... 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.