Glossary A-K

Below is a fairly comprehensive list of terms used in church collected over years for confirmation and other courses. If you cant find something e-mail us!

ALB A white or off-white full length garment worn by clergy, readers and servers during the celebration of the Holy Communion.

ABLUTIONS The ritual cleaning of the sacred vessels after distribution of Holy Communion.

ABSOLUTION The words with which the Priest pronounces the forgiveness of sins. Only those ordained to the priesthood may pronounce an absolution.

ADVENT. The season during which the church looks forward, in a spirit of penitence, to the coming of Christ the King in his Kingdom in power. During Advent, the church also prepares to keep the holy festival of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. The season includes four Sundays and extends from ADVENT SUNDAY (the Sunday nearest to the feast of St Andrew, 30 November) to CHRISTMAS EVE.

AGNUS DEI The prayer, "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world etc" or the modem version "Jesus Lamb of God etc" said before the Communion. (from the Latin for Lamb of God).

ALTAR A table of wood or stone at which the priest presides at the Holy Communion. It is called an altar because in the Holy Communion we remember the perfect sacrifice Jesus made by his death on the cross. 

ALTAR RAIL A rail separating the SANCTUARY from the rest of the church

ANGLICAN COMMUNION The World-wide "Anglican Communion" (Churches deriving from the Church of England across the world) is divided into PROVINCES each of which has its own ARCHBISHOP. The Church of England is part of the Anglican Communion and has two Provinces, those of Canterbury and York. The Archbishop of Canterbury is considered to be the senior of the two Archbishops "Primate of All England".

Each Province is divided into dioceses. There are forty-two dioceses in England. Each diocese is under the care of a BISHOP, who may have assistant Bishops known as SUFFRAGAN Bishops (from Latin, suffraganeus, assisting, supporting). 

Each diocese is divided into PARISHES, each under the care of a PARISH PRIEST, who may be known as a VICAR, RECTOR, or PRIEST-IN-CHARGE, depending on the particular history or current situation of that parish. A number of parishes may be linked together under the care of a priest . We are part of a team and so we have a Team Rector.

APOCRYPHA Fourteen books of pre-New Testament writings not included in the Hebrew bible, but found in the Greek Old Testament, the bible used by the early church. Discarded by the Protestants at the Reformation, but present in some versions of the Bible.

AUMBRY A recess or cupboard, for keeping the consecrated host and wine for use in house communions. A light is usually kept burning in front of the aumbry. All three of our churches have an Aumbry

BAPTISM The ceremony in which a person is initiated into the Christian church, as a child or an adult. The baptised person is washed symbolically, usually with water poured on to the forehead as a sign that (s)he is accepted and sealed by God with the Holy Spirit to represent Christ to the world.

BENEDICTION A blessing. Also called Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, it is  a service consisting of prayers, and a blessing of the congregation by moving in the form of a cross the ciborium or monstrance containing the Host.

BENEDICTUS "Blessed is he who comes" sung after the Sanctus during Communion. Also a canticle of prophecy sung by Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79).

BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER. The book of liturgical worship first issued in 1549, revised 1552, 1559 and finally in 1662 and still an important foundation for Church of England worship, belief and practice. There were further revisions in 1928.

BURSE A square pocket or case, in which the corporal is kept when not in use. 

CASSOCK A full-length robe, black for clergy and readers, black or some other dark colour for servers, and choristers. A bishop's cassock is often purple, although it can be black. Some Cathedrals have special coloured cassocks (e.g Hereford) and Chaplains to the Queen wear red.

CHRISTMASTIDE It lasts twelve days (the twelve days of Christmas!) and leads to the feast of the EPIPHANY.

CASSOCK ALB The cassock alb is a relatively modern garment and is a combination of the traditional cassock and alb. It developedin the 1970s as a convenient undergarment worn by clergy and as an alternative to the alb for deacons and acolytes.

CHASUBLE A priestly vestment worn by the President at the Holy Communion. It is an oval or oblong garment, without sleeves, which goes over the head of the wearer and is open at the sides. The stole and chasuble are usually made from the same fabric.

COPE A type of cloak worn by the priest in processions and at solemn functions, including weddings. It is semi-circular when open, has no shaping to fit the shoulders and is fastened in the front by a clasp. A cope has a flat hood. Copes are frequently ornate.

COTTA A short white garment reaching to just below the waist, with a square neck and full, short sleeves. It is worn over a cassock by some clergy and sometimes by servers.

CHALICE A cup of silver, pottery for holding the wine consecrated at the Holy Communion.

CHALICE ASSISTANTS (sometimes called EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS) are authorised by the bishop, after training, to assist the priest to administer the consecrated bread and wine at the Holy Communion and to take Holy Communion to the housebound. They are licensed to exercise their ministry in a specific parish for a specific period of time.

CHANCEL (where there are often choir stalls); and a SANCTUARY containing the high altar, at the very top of the church.

CHRISTMAS TO CANDLEMASS Commemorates the birth of Jesus and his revealing to the nations. During the season of Christmas to Candlemas, the colour used in church (see below) is WHITE. Christmas Day, of course, is on 25th December and CANDLEMASS (The Presentation of Christ in the Temple) falls on 2nd February. Within this five/ six week season there are two smaller seasons: epiphany and the baptism of Christ.

CHURCH A building dedicated for public worship. Churches may be of different sizes, shapes and styles but thy often have a NAVE in which the people assemble; 

CHURCHWARDENS Each church usually has two churchwardens.Churchwardens are elected by residents of the parish together with non-residents who are on the church electoral roll. Church wardens are commissioned by the Bishop and responsible to him for the good order and running of the church and its property.

CIBORIUM A vessel with a lid for holding consecrated Altar breads. 

COLLECT A short prayer, usually of one sentence, which collects or summarises the petitions of the day. There are set collects for every Sunday and festival of the year.

COMMON WORSHIP The revised forms of liturgical worship for the Church of England introduced in 2000 as a supplement to the Book of Common Prayer.

CONFIRMATION A strengthening of a Christian's spiritual life by the gift of the Holy Spirit, bestowed through the laying on of the hands of a bishop. Confirmation completes the Christian initiation begun at baptism.

CREDENCE TABLE. A table at the side of the Altar on which the bread, wine and water to be used at the Holy Communion are placed. 

CREED (or an AFFIRMATION OF FAITH) A summary of the beliefs of Christians. There are two main creeds, the NICENE CREED, (drawn up at the Council of Nicea, 325A.D.), used at the Holy Communion, and the APOSTLES CREED not drawn up the by Apostles, but of earlier origin than the Nicene creed. The Apostles creed is said at Matins and Evensong. Other Affirmations of Faith, often based on Bible texts are now used during Common Worship Communions.

CRUCIFER The processional cross is carried by the crucifer.

CRUCIFIX A cross on which a figure of Jesus is hanging. When the figure of Jesus is portrayed as a triumphant king, It is called a CHRISTUS REX (Christ the King) 

CRUETS The flasks which contain the wine and water used at the Holy Communion. 

DOCTRINE The beliefs and ways of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are "agreeable to the said Scriptures". In particular such doctrine is to be found in the "Book of Common Prayer" (1662), the "Thirty-nine Articles of Religion" (which are listed in the Book of Common Prayer), and the "Ordinal" (which is the order of service for the ordination (the 'making') of bishop's, priests and deacons (see below).

EASTERTIDE commemorates Christ's joyful resurrection (Colour: WHITE). It begins after sunset on EASTER EVE and lasts for 50 days until PENTECOST (colour: RED; also called WHITSUN or WHITSUNDAY). On the fortieth day after EASTER the church celebrates THE ASCENSION of Jesus into heaven.

ELECTORAL ROLL The list of the people eligible to vote at the annual church meeting. All parishioners may be on the roll, whether or not they attend church, and all non-parishioners who regularly attend the church.

ELEMENTS The bread, wine and water used for the Holy Communion.

EPISTLE All the books of the NEW TESTAMENT, except the four GOSPELS, the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES and REVELATION. Epistles are letters to and from members of the early church (Greek word for letter).

EUCHARIST One of the names given to the sacrament of HOLY COMMUNION or THE LORD'S SUPPER or THE MASS. (Eucharist comes from the Greek word meaning thanksgiving).

EVENSONG A service of praise and the proclamation of the word of God for the evening time.

FONT the receptacle, traditionally of stone, for baptismal water. 

GENUFLECTION A temporary bending of one knee, usually in acknowledgement of respect for  the Blessed Sacrament. 

GLORIA The hymn of praise, "Glory be to God on high" said or sung near the CORPORAL A white linen cloth spread on the Altar upon which the bread and wine are consecrated at the Holy Communion. 

GRADUAL The hymn sung before the Gospel in the Holy Communion. (From the Latin, gradus, step, as it was sung at the altar steps).

HANGINGS The fabric coverings which may hang from the book rest in the pulpit and in front of the altar. The colours vary with the liturgical seasons.

HOST The consecrated Altar breads and wafers. (from the Latin, hostia,, meaning a victim).

IHS Three Greek capitals, equivalent to IES the first three letters of the Greek word for Jesus; said also to be the initials of Jesus hominum Salvator; "Jesus Saviour of Men".

INRI Initials of the Latin version of the accusation over the head of Jesus on the cross, Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judaeorum, (Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews).

INTROIT The sentence of scripture said, at the entrance of the ministers at the Holy Communion (from the Latin for entrance).

KYRIES (pronounced Kyri-es) The prayer "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy" (from the Greek Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison).