Absolution: A declaration by a bishop or priest, announcing forgiveness by God to those who have confessed their sins and repented.
Altar: Also called a Table, the Altar is a liturgical furnishing where the priest celebrates the liturgy of the sacrament of Eucharist. The Liturgy of the Table references the portion of the service in which we celebrate Eucharist.
Altar Guild: The Altar Guild “sets the stage” for all of our worship services including weddings, baptisms, and funerals. Members (male and female) are responsible for the care and preparation of the altar, liturgical linens, brass, silver and candles. At Church of the Apostles, baking our Communion bread for Holy Eucharist is a subgroup of the Altar Guild. As an extension of the Eucharist, Communion is taken to those in the community who are unable to attend worship.
Anglican: The term “Anglican” literally means “English” or “of England” and refers to the denomination that developed from the Church of England.
Anglican Church in North America: The Anglican Church in North America unites some 100,000 Anglicans in nearly 1,000 congregations across the United States and Canada into a single Church. It is an emerging Province in the global Anglican Communion.
Anglican Communion: The Anglican Communion is a fellowship of churches around the world that are in communion with each other and with the See of Canterbury, (i.e., Church of England) and that hold the same faith, order, and worship. The Anglican Communion is comprised of 38 autonomous churches together with a small group of extra-provincial dioceses and approximately 85 million members. There are Anglican congregations or jurisdictions in 165 countries on six continents.
Apostles: “Apostle” references the twelve disciples chosen by Christ before His crucifixion. In addition, the New Testament points to the earliest followers of Jesus and eyewitnesses of His ministry, death, and bodily resurrection as fulfilling an apostolic ministry. “Apostle” comes from the Greek word meaning “sent,” and our church is committed to being sent out to love, serve, and witness as Jesus and His first apostles did.
Apostolic: “Apostolic” references upholding the teachings and practices of the early church.
Archbishop: A bishop who oversees a province, made up of several dioceses, in the Anglican Communion. This position includes oversight responsibilities over both dioceses and bishops in that region.
Baptism: “Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God.
Bishop: A bishop is a priest who has been commissioned to oversee the work of a group of congregations and the priests and deacons who serve them. That group of congregations is called a “diocese.” Only a bishop may ordain persons to the order of deacon and priest and administers confirmation. A bishop may also ordain another bishop, but must do so in the company of other bishops. A bishop must have been previously ordained as a priest.
[The] Book of Common Prayer: The Book used in worship by the Anglican Communion as common liturgy which also contains a collection of historical documents.
Canon: A law of the church set forth by an ecclesiastical council or convention. This term also refers to a person who is connected to a cathedral, usually a staff priest, or a priest of some other high standing.
Catechism: Instruction in the beliefs of Christianity, in the form of questions and answers.
Catholic (small ‘c’): The literal meaning of the word “catholic” is “universal” and refers to the Christian Church and traditional Christian (apostolic) teaching which has been upheld “in all times and places.” Used in lower case, it does not refer to the Roman Catholic Church. The Nicene Creed affirms that Christians are members of “one holy catholic and apostolic church.”
Chalice: The “Common Cup” is used for the wine at Eucharist. It can be received by sipping from the cup or by intinction (dipping the bread into the wine).
Clergy: The group of ordained people, consecrated for unique ministry serving a particular church or denomination.
Collect: From the Latin word collecta, meaning “assembly.” The word normally refers to the prayer near the beginning of the Eucharist service that precedes the lessons. The collect was originally designed to “collect” the thoughts of the lessons and bind them together.
Confession of Sin: An acknowledgment of sin, as in Ps 51: “Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” Confessions of sin during the liturgy are general, made by all the people. The church also provides for confessions of sin by individual penitents, and for their absolution, pronounced by a bishop or priest.
Confirmation: At Confirmation a person makes a mature, public confession that he or she accepts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Lord and Savior, thus accepting the vows made by his or her godparents at baptism. The bishop then lays hands on the confirmand (one being confirmed), and prays for the Holy Spirit to “strengthen greatly” the person in the rest of his or her life. Confirmation is considered to be one of the five sacramental rites of the Church.
Consecration: To set something or someone apart for a sacred purpose. The bread and wine of the Eucharist are consecrated at the Great Thanksgiving, and “the consecration” often means the consecration of the eucharistic gifts. The central prayer accompanying the laying on of hands in the ordination of bishops, priests, and deacons is called the prayer of consecration. The prayer, the action, and the accompanying ceremonies are called “the consecration” in the BCP. The Prayer Book also speaks of the consecration of chrism by the bishop, the consecration of a grave, and the consecration of a church.
Creeds, Nicene and Apostles: The Anglican Church recognizes the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds as the sufficient statements of Christian faith.
Daily Office: “Praying the Daily Office” is an ancient practice that uses daily prayers to mark the intervals of the day. For Anglicans, this generally comes in the form of the two main offices of Daily Morning Prayer and Daily Evening Prayer.
Deacon: The first order of ordained ministry that embodies and lives out the servant ministry of Christ. There are “transitional” deacons: those who will eventually be ordained as priests, and “vocational” deacons, those who will serve as deacons for the balance of their lives. Deacons are commissioned to proclaim the Gospel, assist at the Holy Communion, and to call the church – by word and example – to its ministry of service and healing.
Diocese: A church jurisdiction, usually a geographic area, comprised of parishes under the authority of a bishop.
Disciple, Discipleship: A Christian disciple is one who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and is dedicated to living in obedience to His Word (as found in Scripture). Discipleship is the act of learning to live out one’s faith, and the church is called to mentor and guide new believers in the journey of discipleship.
Elements: The bread and wine of Holy Communion. The bread and wine signify to us the Body and Blood of Christ.
English Reformation: The English Reformation was a series of events in 16th century England through which the Church in England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. The Church in England became the Church of England, eventually giving birth to the Anglican Communion. The English Reformation placed high value on the Bible and liturgy being in the “language of the people,” a common way of worship (The Book of Common Prayer), a return to ancient roots while rejecting oversight from a “foreign bishop.”
Eucharist: From the Greek word for “giving of thanks,” this refers to the service of Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was ordained by Jesus Christ for the continued remembrance of the sacrifice of His death. As part of the mystery of faith, we believe that Jesus is in some way present in the elements of bread and wine and in our participation of this sacrament.
Eucharistic vessels: The chalice for wine and paten for bread used for Eucharist.
Evangelism: Evangelism is the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ, a proclamation empowered by the Holy Spirit such that others believe in Him as Savior and follow Him as Lord within the Christian Church.
Godparents: Godfathers and godmothers, persons who sponsor an infant or young child at his or her baptism. Godparents make vows that they will, by their example, help the child know what it means to be a Christian, so that later in his or her life the child can confirm that fact for himself or herself at Confirmation.
Grace: Grace is a divine gift from God—unmerited and freely given as an act of love. In the Christian faith, “grace” refers particularly to God’s gift of salvation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ but also refers to the acts of love God pours out on His people.
Great Commandments and Great Commission: Jesus’ mission to His church is two-fold. Jesus commands us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself” (Great Commandment, Matthew 22:36-40, NRSV). In addition, he told His disciples to: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20, NRSV)
Great Tradition: The Great Tradition incorporates the bedrock beliefs of the Bible, the apostolic Church, the Creeds, and orthodox Christians throughout the centuries as well as sacred practices and rhythms of the Church.
Holy Communion: Synonym for the Lord’s Supper and Holy Eucharist.
Holy Orders: In the Anglican tradition, the church recognizes three “orders”—bishop, priest and deacon who are set aside for ordained ministry. The offices of bishops, priests and deacons are outlined in Scripture and formally established in the early Church. These ancient orders were retained as an expression of continuity with the historic Church. Ordination is the service in which individuals are formally “set aside” for service in the church as deacons, priests or bishops. Individuals are “ordained” to these three orders.
Incarnation: Jesus became incarnate and was born of the Virgin Mary and was the embodiment of God the Son in human flesh as Jesus Christ. Jesus was both fully divine and fully human.
Incarnational: Incarnational theology can also refer to the belief that Christians are to function as Jesus Christ to humanity and represent the incarnated Word of God to all people.
Lay Eucharistic Ministers: A Lay Eucharistic Minister, also called a Chalice Bearer, is one who assists with distributing the wine during Holy Eucharist. Any older youth or adult may become a chalice bearer following training. It is an honor and solemn responsibility to distribute the wine in the context of worship.
Lay person/Laity: The laity are non-ordained members of a church, as distinguished from “the clergy”. A single member of the laity would be referred to as a “lay person.” By virtue of their baptism and confirmation, laity are ministers in the Church.
Lay Readers: A lay reader is a member of the congregation who reads one of two passages from Holy Scripture, typically one Old Testament reading, a Psalm selection and one New Testament reading, during a service.
Lesson: A reading from the Bible during a worship service. Lessons are usually read by a lay person and are not taken from the Gospel or the Psalms. Lessons are usually read from the epistle side of the church building and conclude with the reader saying, “The word of the Lord” or “Here ends the reading.”
Lex orandi, lex credendi: Translation of Latin phrase meaning, “The way we pray shapes the way we believe.”
Litany: A litany is a form of prayer which consists of a series of requests to which the people reply with a fixed response such as “hear our prayer.”
Liturgy: “Liturgy” literally means “the work of the people” but is used in reference to authorized services of corporate worship especially the Eucharist, a highly participatory form of worship.
Liturgy of the Table: The Liturgy of the Table is that portion of the worship service in which we partake of Holy Eucharist (Communion or the Lord’s Supper) as He commanded, preparing and empowering us for service in the world.
Liturgy of the Word: The Liturgy of the Word is that portion of the worship service which focuses upon the reading of God’s word, explication of the Word through preaching, prayer and confession with absolution as preparation for receiving Eucharist.
Liturgical Seasons: In the Anglican tradition, we order our common life around the rhythms of the biblical narrative and the Liturgies of Word and Sacrament focusing on God’s story of salvation and how our stories fit into it. The Christian Year follows an annual cycle, which calls us to live into Jesus’ story of hope and redemption. The liturgical seasons illustrate an ebb and flow ranging from more subdued intervals of contemplation, reflection and self-examination to times of great joy, triumph, anticipation and praise; in addition, a significant portion of the year is called “Ordinary Time,” a term which literally means “counted time.”
Lord’s Supper: Synonym for Holy Eucharist and Holy Communion.
Minister: In some church traditions, “minister” references pastors or clergy. While the ordained are set aside for specific liturgical responsibilities, Anglicans recognize that every baptized Christian has ministry to do for God’s greater glory. We therefore believe that all Christians are ministers. In our Catechism we state, “The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests and deacons.”
“One holy catholic and apostolic church”: These terms reference the four major distinctive marks or distinguishing characteristics of the Christian Church. The Church is “one” based upon its common faith; it is holy because God is holy and He established the church, setting it aside for a holy purpose; it is catholic because it is general or universal; and it is apostolic because it is “sent out.” These distinctive marks are still professed today in the Nicene Creed, recited in Anglican Church liturgy.
Parish: The group of people of a certain area who are organized into a local, self-supporting church. Sometimes the word is used to refer to the geographic region around a church.
Paten: The paten is the small plate used for the bread at the Eucharist.
[The] Peace: Also known as “passing the peace.” A part of the ritual in the Anglican 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.” At the passing of the peace we should earnestly desire God’s peace upon each person we greet. The passing of the peace is also a sign of obedience to Jesus’ words that we make peace with one another before offering our gifts at the altar (Matt. 5:23- 24).
Priest: The second of the three orders of ordained ministry (deacon, priest, bishop). The word is a shortened form of “presbyter,” or elder. Priests officiate at any of the sacraments and services of worship other than confirmation, ordination, and consecration of a bishop. A person who is a priest must previously have been ordained as a deacon and continues to be a deacon throughout his or her life as a priest.
Procession: The line of choir, clergy, acolytes, crucifer, torchbearers and others walking into a church building to begin a service.
Province: A province is a term used for a self-governing church body that belongs to the Anglican Communion.
Real Presence: “Real presence” is a doctrine that emphasizes the actual presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. This is in contrast to theologies that hold that the Body and Blood are present only figuratively or symbolically and that Communion is a memorial meal rather than a sacrament.
Recessional: The final hymn sung as the recession takes place.
Rector: A rector is the senior priest with responsibility for overseeing a self-supporting congregation. If a parish has more than one clergy, the others are called Assistant Rectors or Associate Rectors.
Sacraments: According to the prayer book, sacraments are “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace.” Sacraments are physical actions that point us to deeper realities than we are able to experience with our five senses. The Anglican Church recognizes two sacraments, and five minor sacraments, or sacramental rites. The two sacraments, Baptism and Communion, are called gospel or “dominical” sacraments because Jesus told us (in the gospels) to do them until He comes again. The five sacramental rites are not all necessarily required of all Christians. They are Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, Reconciliation, and Unction.
Sanctification: The process of being transformed by divine grace through the power of the Holy Spirit as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion.
Stewardship: Stewardship is our grateful response to God’s generosity. Scripture instructs us to be good stewards of all God has given us, and He challenges us to give generously of our Time, Talent, and Treasure. It has been said that, “time is the currency of life” – it is a precious commodity. At Church of the Apostles, we equip and release individuals to use their time, spiritual gifts and talents for Kingdom ministry. Being a faithful steward of our treasure involves contributing financially to one’s local church and other entities you feel called to support.
The Ten Experience: Church of the Apostles recommends the “The Ten Experience” as an the opportunity to participate in the life of our faith community by committing to attend ten events (over any timeframe) of your choice, selecting from worship (an obvious priority), Bible study, special programs, service projects, Guild meetings, or fellowship gatherings. Our desire is for you to find a place to belong. We believe that in order to fully experience our vision and community, it is important to visit more than once or twice to get to know us in multiple contexts of our life together.
Verger: A verger is a committed lay minister within the Church who assists the clergy in the conduct of public worship, especially in the marshaling of processions and overseeing the Altar Guild.
Vestments: Vestments are the historic robes worn by members of the clergy during worship services and are rooted in the earliest Christian practice. Not all Anglican clergy dress alike—they have dressed differently at different times in history and in different places.
Via media: A Latin phrase which means “by the way of the middle, referencing a bridge between the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.” Many would say that the adherence to the middle way in all matters is one of the major identifying characteristics of classical Anglicanism.