The term is the Latin transliteration of the Greek ekklesia, which indicated a civic assembly. The word was derived from the Greek for "call out" or "summon," so it was a "called assembly." In biblical usage it meant the assembly called by God, the church. Because of the Incarnation, in which the Word of God is united to humanity, the entire human family-past, present, future-is called into union with God in the Body of Christ. More specifically, the ecclesia is the body of those who are made members of His Body through baptism. They are sustained in that membership through participation in the eucharist. Samuel John Stone's hymn, "The Church's one foundation" (Hymn 525) has been a favorite Anglican expression of the meaning of ecclesia. See Church, The.
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.