Stir Our Compassion

Stir Our Compassion

God, whose everlasting arms support the universe: We thank you for moving the heart of Lillian Trasher to heroic hospitality on behalf of orphaned children in great need, and we pray that More »

Shed Your Light On Those Who Love You

Shed Your Light On Those Who Love You

Judge eternal, throned in splendor, you gave Juan de la Cruz strength of purpose and mystical faith that sustained him even through the dark night of the soul: Shed your light on More »

We Pray For Illumination

We Pray For Illumination

Loving God, for the salvation of all you gave Jesus Christ as light to a world in darkness: Illumine us, with your daughter Lucy, with the light of Christ, that by the More »

Help Us Renounce Vanity

Help Us Renounce Vanity

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace gladly to renounce the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in More »

Help Us Live In Friendship

Help Us Live In Friendship

O God, the shepherd of all, we give you thanks for the lifelong commitment of your servant John Raleigh Mott to the Christian nurture of students in many parts of the world; More »

Grant That We May Show Our Faith

Grant That We May Show Our Faith

O God, who by the teaching of your faithful servant and bishop Remigius turned the nation of the Franks from vain idolatry to the worship of you, the true and living God, More »

Deliver Us From Worldliness

Deliver Us From Worldliness

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your More »

Help Us Follow You

Help Us Follow You

 We thank thee, heavenly Father, for the witness of your apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of your Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with More »

Pour Forth Your Holy Spirit

Pour Forth Your Holy Spirit

Almighty God, who called your faithful servants John Coleridge Patteson and his companions to be witnesses and martyrs in the islands of Melanesia, and by their labors and sufferings raised up a More »

Grant Us Concord

Grant Us Concord

Almighty God, who called your servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and gave him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, More »

 

Glossary

MINISTERS

Episcopal means “bishop” in Greek, and the Episcopal Church is governed in part by its bishops. The Episcopal Church is divided into dioceses, each diocese being an area encompassing a reasonable number of Episcopalians. Each diocese is presided over by a diocesan bishop. A cathedral is a church that contains the bishop’s seat, or cathedra. A cathedral is the symbolic center of a diocese.

The bishop ordains priests and deacons to serve in each parish, or congregation, which carries out the ministry of the diocese in its local communities. A priest (or priests) leads the parish in worship, makes decisions related to the sacramental life of the parish, and in general, supports the ministry of the worshiping Christians there. Arector is simply the priest in charge of a parish; a vicar is a priest who leads a mission congregation.

Deacons have a long tradition in the church, extending back to the New Testament. In the Episcopal church, deacons maintain their traditional role to serve the poor and less fortunate. They also assist in many facets of the Holy Eucharist.

Each church also has a vestry, or group of elected representatives that select and support the rector, articulate and support the church’s mission, plan and organize, and manage finances. The vestry usually has two wardens—the senior warden, who is a support person for the rector, and the junior warden, who oversees care of the church and property.

WORSHIP

Episcopalian worship services are liturgical, derived from liturgy, which refers to the texts that make up the rites, prayers and services of the church.

The Book of Common Prayer is the official source of liturgy for the Episcopal Church. First written in 1549 and revised last in 1979, it contains the liturgy for regular services and many special services, such as baptism, marriage, and burial.

Most services will follow one of two liturgies—either Rite One or Rite Two. The language for Rite One services and prayers hews more closely to traditional Elizabethan English, while Rite Two is written in more contemporary language.

There are two main creeds, or statements of faith, that you will hear in the Episcopal Church: the Nicene Creed and the even more ancient Apostles’ Creed.

Eucharist, literally “thanksgiving” in Greek, is the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood, sometimes called Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper. In the Episcopal church, the eucharist is the main focus of the service, the high point; in fact, the entire service is officially called the Holy Eucharist.

CHURCH CALENDAR

Advent is a season of solemn preparation before Christmas, beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The season is a time for remembering Christ’s incarnation and also his promise to return. The color of the season is purple.

Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth and incarnation. It begins on December 25 and continues for 12 days, ending on January 5, the eve of the Feast of Epiphany.

Epiphany begins on January 6 with the feast and continues until Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. It marks the appearance of Jesus to the wise men, signaling that he is a savior of all peoples.

The Easter season encompasses Lent and Holy Week and continues until Pentecost.

Lent is the season leading up to Easter and is a time of penitence and prayer. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and last 40 days until Easter. Lent is a more somber time in the church; “alleluia” is not spoken, and the liturgical decorations are more austere.

Holy Week is the most significant week of the church year. It begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. The week, which includes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, marks the final days of Jesus’ life, from the time he entered Jerusalem, through his trial, crucifixion and death. Easter is the church’s most important feast, marking the resurrection of Christ.

Pentecost begins with the Feast of Pentecost—a remembrance of the Holy Spirit descending on the apostles—and runs until the first Sunday of Advent. This season is sometimes referred to as Ordinary Time.