Glossary of Terms ‘And did those feet’

Aetheling: the rightful heir to the Anglo Saxon crown, descended from Cedric the first Anglo Saxon King of Wessex (1519-534 – reign)

Abbot: the leader of a monastic community.

Anglican: the church defined by its commitment to the fellowship of Anglicans, allegiance to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the doctrine of the 39 Articles. 

Anglo-Catholic, a form of teaching and practice in the Church of England that emphasises the sacramental and symbolic in worship and ministry. And in this sense is closer to the Roman Catholic church than the Reformed tradition in the Anglican church.     

Archdeacon: church official with responsibility for an archdeaconry, normally an area in a diocese made up of several rural or area deaneries.

Arianism: the heresy coming from the 4th century heretic Arius who maintained that Christ was not of the same substance as the Father- ie not fully divine. Opposed by Athanasius and the Nicene Creed.

Baptist Church generally Protestant and defined by the practice of adult baptism, and not infant baptism.   In 2005 comprised about 250,000 members.

Benedictines, the: a monastic order founded by St Benedict of Nursia c 540. Became the most common monastic rule in the Western Church leading to autonomous Benedictine monasteries. First brought to England by St. Wilfrid c690. The rule is known for being terse and practical emphasising prayer, reading the scriptures – lectio divina, humility, obedience and discipline. It places great emphasis on the quality of life of the Abbot (Chapter 2).

Bishop: a church office with the responsibilityof oversight (episcope) for the mission, community and health of a diocese and its lay and clerical members. 

Book of Common Prayer: the official prayer book of the Church of England.

Complied by Thomas Cranmer. First produced in 1549 after an Act of Uniformity in Edward VI’s reign. Re-issued in 1552 with some alterations. Revoked by Queen Mary I, it was re-introduced under Elizabeth I in 1559. On the Restoration of the monarchy it was once again revised and re-issued in 1662. A revision of the Prayer Book in 1928 was rejected by Parliament. In 1980 the ASB was adopted as an Alternative to the BCP, and in 2000 Common Worship was produced as a replacement alternative.

Calvinism: a stream of Protestantism begun by the Reformer John Calvin ( 1509-64)  of Geneva expressed in Calvin’s Institutes  that stresses the authority of Scripture , the predestination grace of God and the self-governing of churches.     

Canon or Prebendary: A Member of the Cathedral Chapter (governing body with the Dean) who is either honorary or an office holder in the cathedral.

Canon Law/ Canons: church law governing the conduct of the church.

Cardinal: a senior priest in the Roman Catholic Church with the right to vote for a new pope when there is a vacancy.

Caroline: appertaining to Charles: either Charles I or the dynasty of Charlemagne

Celibacy: a call to live,or a way of life,forgoing any sexual relationships.

Church: refers either to the called people of called – the ekklesia– or the building in which they meet.

Church of England, the church is defined by loyalty to the monarch and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and commitment to the 39 Articles.

Church Architecture. The Church Porch often where business and marriages were conducted in the medieval period eg Chaucer’s Wife of Bath. The Font for baptisms (mostly infants) was by the west door (ie entering the church community). The nave – the body of the church (from navis – a ship). The crossing or transept, where the cruciform shape is clearest. The Chancel, the east end around the altar table or later the holy table (Post Reformation). The Rood Screen (often destroyed post Reformation) a scene depicting Christ on the Cross, The Virgin Mary and St John.  Pulpit for preaching. Lectern for reading. The Vestry is for clergy robes etc, also used for meetings. Side Chapels, for prayer.  Chantries, abolished in the Reformation, in which masses were said for the repose of a departed person.

Church Vestments, some or none of these may be used in public worship. A Cassock, a long black robe; surplice, a white overgarment; a stole denoting priestly status, an alb, white vestment reaching to the ground; a chasuble, an ornate outer garment often embordered with symbols and using liturgical colours; a mitre denoting a bishop. During and after the Reformation there was much debate and controversy in relation to vestments.  Liturgical colours are Advent: Purple; Christmas: White or Gold; Lent: Purple: Easter: White or Gold; Pentecost: Red; Ordinary Time: Green eg weeks of Trinity

Church Commissioners; A Church of England body established by law responsible for the assets and salaries/pensions of Church of England clergy and employees.    

Church Councils: There are at least eight primary Ecumenical Councils of which these are the most significant –Jerusalem, Acts 15; Nicaea 325AD; Constantinople 381; Ephesus 431; Chalcedon 451. Roman Catholic Councils are the Council of Trent 1545-1563 and the Second Vatican Council 1962-1965.

Church Fathers, the leaders of the church in the first five centuries eg Ignatius,

Irenaeus, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Origen, Athanasius, Augustine of Hippo, Chrysostom and Jerome. 

 Churchyards:  For the burial of the dead according to the rites of the church in consecrated ground, with the agreement of the Church Council and incumbent or priest.

Confession: in Roman Catholic practise is generally heard by a Priest often beforereceiving  the sacrament ( Communion) , and at least once  a year before Easter.  

Confirmation: a service in which a candidate confirms his or her baptismal faith and is confirmed with the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop. It is frequently the rite that proceeds a person receiving Communion. 

Convent: initially a group of men or women called to a same sex community life of prayer and service. In England the term Convent came to be used of nuns.

Coptic Church, the:   is the ancient Egyptian church which has recently suffered much persecution in Egypt. Founded by St Mark in Alexandria in 50AD. It counts Athanasius and the Desert Fathers and Mothers in its tradition.

Coronation: the crowning and anointing of the monarch for the task or ruling and for governing the church. Its form was first laid down by Archbishop Dunstan in the crowning of Edgar in Bath in 973. 

Counter Reformation, The Roman Catholic movement of Reform in the Catholic Church centring on the Council of Trent 1545-1563 and a new Catholic spirituality founded by Ignatius Loyola and incorporated into the Jesuit movement.

Creeds: Statements of faith adopted by churches to express their faith, often used in worship. The most common are the Apostles Creed (c2ndcentury) and the Nicene Creed from the Council of Nicaea 325AD.

Crown Appointments: The Crown may appoint bishops and some clergy to vacant dioceses, cathedrals and parishes. This is now vested in a Crown Appointments Board and Adviser in consultation with the archbishops.

Crusades: generally called in the Middle Ages by the pope to take back the Holy Places from Islam. It was first called in 1095 by Pope Urban IIThis resulted in forming Crusader states to hold their gains. After initial success they suffered defeat especially at the hand of Saladin and the loss of Jerusalem. The 2nd and 3rd Crusades were ineffective and the 4th Crusade was disastrous leading to the sacking of Constantinople. Later Crusades were called by the Papacy against the Albigensian and Cathars in France. They became a stain on the reputation of the church, mixing mission with violence.

Darwinism: the scientific theory of Darwin (1809-1882) following his publication of The Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871) which proposed evolutionary theory, the survival of the fittest and the evolution of humans from hominids and or apes. It had explosive effect in Victorian England.    

Deacon/ Deaconess: meaning servant, frequently an ordained member of the clergy not yet priested with more limited (not sacramental) sphere of responsibilities. 

Dean: a church official with responsibility for supervising the worship and mission of a cathedral as well as the spiritual well-being of its community and the safety and preservation of its buildings.

Diocese: an ecclesiastical area with a bishop normally comprising many parishes, ministers or priests and congregations.

Doctrine:  teachings of the church about faith and conduct. This may be found in the Creeds, in Papal Encyclicals or Bulls, in church compositions eg the 39 Articles, the Confessions -eg the Augsburg Confession of 1530 and the Westminster Confession 1646 or Calvin’s Institutes, Basle 1536.

Dominicans:  or Black Friars initially like the Franciscans a mendicant order founded by St Dominic in 1220. Chief focus of the order is teaching, education and mission. Their chief leaders were Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas who aimed at combining Aristotelian philosophy with Scripture. Often regarded as the watchdog of Orthodoxy, they were connected to the Inquisition     

Ecumenism /Ecumenical from the Greekoikumene meaning the world with the sense of seeking unity among churches throughout the world. Ecumenism is therefore pursuit of unity among churches for which Christ prayed see John 17: 1-26. The World Council of Churches was founded with this aim.

Ember Days: four days a year of fasting on Ash Wednesday, Pentecost, September 14 (Holy Cross) and Dec. 13 (St Lucy): connected with ordination and harvest

Enlightenment, the: an intellectual and Philosophical movement that replaced faith by reason as the central plank ofhuman existence and aspiration. On the continent Descartes, Rousseau, Spinoza, Voltaire and Emmanuel Kant were front runners. Scientific understanding provided by Isaac Newton gave confidence that reason and science would explain causation and purpose in the world.  David Hume and Adam Smith were part of the Scottish Enlightenment advancing empirical science and economic principles between them. The rights of man and freedom emerged with the work of Thomas Paine, John Locke, Mary Wollstonecraft and lay behind the American Constitution and the French Revolution. Its effect would be powerfully felt till the movement of existentialism in the late 19th century.

Erastianism: the ruling of the church by the state     

Eucharist: Another term for Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper from the Greek word eucharistia meaning thanksgiving, a term that is used in the liturgy.

Evangelical, a broad generic term to describe Christians from differing denominations who hold to similar beliefs. The defining set of beliefs among evangelicals is the supremacy of scripture, a personal faith and the need to spread the gospel.      

Exegesis: written or spoken explanation of the Scriptures leading either to commentaries on scripture or expository preaching (explaining the meaning of) of scripture.

Existentialism: a philosophy derived from the Swedish theologian and philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (d1855) which centres on the significance of the individual, their freedom and inner reality.

Faculty: a permission granted by a Diocese to change church fabric.

Fifth Monarchist: popular during the 17th Century English Revolution.  It was derived from the Book of Daniel ch2:44 in which the fifth monarchy would be the Rule of Christ on earth with his saints. 

Filioque Clause: a disputed clause in the Nicene Creed added by the West (Rome) that states that the Spirit came from the Father and the Son (filioque: ‘and the Son’) . Opposed by the Orthodox who maintained the West had no right to change the Creed agreed in 325AD at Nicaea. 

Franciscans: founded by Francis of Assisi in 1209 Initially the friars were a medicant order – asking for alms but thus becameuntenable. In 1224 Franciscans arrived in England and by 1250 there were 50 friaries including teaching houses at Oxford, Cambridge and London. Archbishop Peckham (1279-92) was a Franciscan. Most houses were dissolved in the Dissolution of the Monasteries, but presently there about twelve houses around the England.     

Friars: a form of monasticism like the Franciscans and Dominicans who initially existed through asking for money and support ie mendicant but became property holders themselves.

Gnosticism: a first and second century heresy which denigrated the flesh and physical life and sought change by accessing secret knowledge which would link ‘the enlightened’ to a universal system. Opposed by Irenaeus’s ‘Against Heresies’.

Hermits: solitaries and anchorites, such people were generally men or women pf prayer or mystics eg St Guthlac of Crowland (673-714), Richard Rolle (1300-1349) and Julian of Norwich (1342-c416).

Holy Communion: another name for the Lord Supper or Eucharist. The name emphasises how the sacrament enables communion with Christ and with the church present and departed.      

Humanist: those who studied the humanities or the classics at universities. A renewed interest in the classics occurred in the 15th Century, from which would come proficiency in Biblical languages and translation. More recently it has come to mean valuing the rights of human beings and their rights to freedom and self-determination.

Iconoclasm: destruction of images, generally in churches.

Indulgences:  indulgencesare concessions granted by the medieval church to mitigate either your own sinfulness or that of the dead in purgatory. They took the form of indulgences either bought from the church or earned by good works or by going on Crusade, taking up the cross. The sale of indulgences was the spark for the Reformation and Luther’s indictment of medieval Catholicism.   

Infallibility: the doctrine that either scripture or church teaching – eg by the pope- is without fault.

Jesuits: The Society of Jesus founded by Ignatius Loyolain 1534. Its aimswereto foster reform in the church, following the Reformation and to undertake missionary work. They focused on education, catechism, spiritual exercises and mission. They sent missionaries to England during the Elizabeth I ‘s reign notably Edmund Camion and Robert Parsons. Although they threatened some indigenous churches in Spain, Portugal and France, their work continues throughout the world. The have a strong principle of obedience.

Lambeth Conference: Assembly of Anglican bishops from the worldwide Anglican Communion. First held in 1867 with 76 Bishops. Generally held every ten years.

Latitudinarian:  a term expressing the way of although belonging to the Church of England; placed great emphasis on reason, science and wider philosophical views.

Lent: a period of forty days leading up to Easter starting at Ash Wednesday often including fasting or giving up certain foods. Generally, a period for self-examination or penance, during which candidates were frequently prepared for Baptism on Easter Day.

Liberal, part of the church that emphasises reason, as opposed to tradition and Scripture in formulating doctrine and practise. It has, in the past, down-played the miraculous accepting a scientific world view, and tends to be more accommodating towards gay marriage and self-identification among transgender people.      

Liturgy, services such as Morning and Evening Prayer, the Eucharist, Marriage, The Burial of the Dead, Baptism and Confirmation, A Litany of Prayer,Ordination of Deacons and Priests, Consecration of Bishops and Abbots, Services of Healing and Final Rites.   

Mass, the: the name given to the Communion Service by the Roman Catholic, and Catholic parts of the church. The name comes from the final words of the liturgy ite, missa est (Go you are dismissed).

Methodism, began as a discipleship movement within the Anglican church led John Wesley but came to describe the new congregations bright about by Wesley’s preaching. Wesley then began to appoint Methodist Lay preachers, who met annually for a Methodist Conference. After Wesley’s death, this association formed a new church leadership and Methodists became a denomination.   

Monasticism / Monastery:  A community of men or women committed to a life of prayer and service, involving vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience. Beginning in the fourth century in Egypt, Palestine and Asia it spread throughout the world. There are many different rules notably Benedictine, Augustinian, Franciscan and Dominican. 

Mystics: generally, are contemplatives who often live solitary lives as hermits or as anchorites. They seek Godto know him better and to teach others. English mystics include Julian of Norwich, Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton, the author of The Cloud of Unknowing and Evelyn Underhill. They use the apophatic qualities of the Godhead as a springboard for prayer. 

New Churches or House Churches: these encompass new churches begun from the late 1960’s generally Evangelical and Charismatic which were either independent or in a fellowship of churches. An example of the former is Bath City Church and the latter Newfrontiers. Together they have about 200,000 members.  

Non-Jurors: Bishops who had refused to swear an oath of Allegiance to William and Mary, because they had previously sworn an oath to James II who had abdicated/been deposed. Nine were removed from office including  the  godly Bishop Ken of Bath and Wells and c300 clergy  

Occasional Conformity: the practice of occasionally going to Church of England services in order to be considered for public office – so avoiding the exclusion enforced by the Test Acts, generally applied to Dissenters. Some political parties allowed this eg Whigs, while the Tories were opposed to this concession.

Orthodox Church, in essence the eastern church that split from the western church at Rome and headed by the pope in 1054 over the interpretation of the creeds and the jurisdiction of the pope. In England the Greek and Russian Orthodox church are present. There are several different national orthodox, churches eg Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, Romanian and Serbian. 

Oxford Movement, the:  a movement to reform the Church of England from 1833-1845 that aimed at incorporating more of the teaching and practice of the Church Fathers.  It was reaction to the state’s reform of the Church starting with Ireland. It began with the Assizes Sermon of John Keble in 1833 accusing the church of National Apostasy. This was followed with the issuing of Tracts for our Times by J.H. Newman, John Keble, Edward Pusey and others. These looked for a restoration of sacramental doctrine, ritual in keeping with the catholic church, the teaching of the Church Fathers. A number became Roman Catholics but others like Keble and Pusey remained Anglicans    

Papal Bull: a proclamation or edict of the pope made under the papal seal       (bulla)

Parish: an ecclesiastical area with its own parish church and jurisdiction, generally led by an Incumbent or appointed priest- these may be called variously Vicar, Rector or Priest in Charge,

Patronage: the right to present candidates for appointment by the bishop when there is a vacancy in a parish. This right in law may be held by a bishop, a lay holder of patronage or a society or board.

Pentecostal: someone who stresses the work of the Spirit in their life or the church’s life. The Modern Pentecostal movement started in a spiritual outpouring in Azusa Street California in 1906. Often speaking in tongues and prophecy are emphasised as signs of being filled or baptised with the Spirit. Pentecostals are generally known as charismatics in the main line churches. The main Pentecostal churches are Elim and Assemblies of God. In all in 2005 they comprised about 287,000 members.

Pilgrimages, a journey undertaken as a spiritual exercise to a shrine. Common pilgrimages were to Canterbury (Thomas a Becket), Glastonbury, St James Compostela, Roma and Jerusalem. Margery Kempe was a well-known pilgrim in the 14th century. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer records ribald tales being told by the pilgrims on the journey.    

Pope: The Leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Presbyterian, a protestant, Calvinist in origin, church defined by being led by a presbyter with elders and not holding to episcopal oversight. Common in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Priest: an ordained member of the laity with the right to teach, care and celebrate the sacraments. They may be appointed to be Parish priests or to other roles in the church.

Protestant: a generic term for all those who broke away from Roman Catholicism in the 16th century.  

Province: an ecclesiastical jurisdiction over which an Archbishop has authority

Purgatory: the church doctrine prevalent in the middle ages that the dead are waiting for entry into heaven where their souls are purged and refined before heaven.  In addition, the prayers, service and offerings by the church on earth can mitigate their waiting or sufferings (see Indulgences also.)

Puritanism, a movement within Protestantism with a strong Calvinist basis but also a strong emphasis on leading a “pure” life. Hence worldly pursuits were eschewed eg drinking, gambling, sabbath sports and dancing. Any popish ways eg celebrating feast days including Christmas, pilgrimages, symbols in worship, confession to a priest were all avoided.  Rather plainness in dress, worship and lifestyle was becoming. The movement produced many strong expository preachers such as John Owen, William Perkins, John Bunyan, Thomas Goodwin and Richard Baxter. Confessions of Faith like the Westminster Confession were Puritan works of theology.    

Quakers (Society of Friends) Founded in the mid 17th century by George Fox (1624-91). It emphasised simplicity requiring no buildings, ministers, liturgy or finance. It emphasised the priesthood of all believers, care of the poor, abolition of slavery, refusal to take oaths and pacifism.  William Penn sought to establish these principles in Pennsylvania. Became successful chocolate makers and bankers eg Cadbury’s, Fry’s, Rowntree’s and Gurney’s later Barclays Bank.   

Reformation, the: A movement in church history dating from the 16th Century which questioned and overthrew papal authority in the church and sought to  overturn perceived abuses in the church eg  : the use of  Indulgences , the use of relics , worship at shrines , the use of statues or images in church, teaching about purgatory , the sacrifice of the mass and transubstantiation , pilgrimages and replace these with simplicity  based on justification by faith alone , the understanding of  scripture and the teaching office of the minister .  The main leaders were Martin Luther and John Calvin. 

Renaissance, the: a period (c 1450- 1640) of cultural and intellectual change in which the rediscovery of the classics provoked a more human centred narrative with the achievements and abilities of man becoming more central. Stimulated by scholars coming from east, in particular from Byzantium and Constantinople, it led to important works on philosophy, political theory, the arts and literature. Beginning in Florence the Renaissance moved to Northern Europe.  Erasmus published a fresh translation of the New Testament (1512), and the printing press made the dissemination of knowledge far swifter.   

Roman Catholic, as belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, defined by its submission to the authority of the pope.   

Rural/Area Dean: a church offer appointed by the bishop to care for the clergy in a Deanery and facilitate its mission.

Sacraments: there are two sacraments instituted by Christ, Baptism and the Eucharist. Churches have added others such as marriage, anointing of the sick or dying, ordination, confirmation and reconciliation. A sacrament contains two parts: an outward symbol and an inner grace. 

Secular: the opposite of scared or holy, as pertaining to the world or created things; as opposed as pertaining to God the Creator   

Scholasticism:  a medieval form of theology involving the Schoolmen eg Thomas Aquinas, Giovanni Bonaventure, William of Ockham and Duns Scotus who taught in the schools. They sought to classify, harmonise and synchronize Scripture, Philosophy – especially Plato and Aristotle with observation of nature, moral laws and the Church Fathers. They used disputation, reasoning and appeal to authorities to resolve contradictions.

Scripture:  contains 66 Books of the Bible. This includes the Jewish Old Testament, the Septuagint comprising the Greek translation of Hebrew scriptures, the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, The letters of Paul, Peter, and James and John and the Letter to the Hebrews and the Book of Revelation. 

Shrines, places where saints are remembered, and particular events sometimes associated with them. Also places of pilgrimage too.        

Suffragan Bishop: a co- bishop in a diocese appointed to a particular part or area of the Diocese eg Taunton in the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

Synod: a gathering of clergy and lay people sometimes in their different ‘houses’ of bishops, priests and lay-people often for deciding matters of faith, worship and mission.

United Reformed Church: formed in 1972 by the union of the Congregational Church of England and Wales with the Presbyterian Church of England.  

Test Acts: part of the Clarendon Code of the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, designed to exclude RCs and Dissenters from office by requiring them to attend Anglican worship and in the case of RCs forswear the Catholic theology of Transubstantiation.

Tithes, payments (often in kind-hence tithe barns) were made from the early medieval period to maintain ministry in a given place. This remained the basic support of the Pre- Reformation Church and of Church of England ministry until Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 made those liable to paying tithe to do so now in a money. A scale of money tithes was worked out on land ownership in the parish. Later clergy were paid for by the Church Commissioners.

Toleration Act 1688 designed to extend Religious Tolerance to Dissenters agreed by William and Mary

Transubstantiation: the mostly Roman Catholic theology of the Mass in which the Bread and Wineare believed to become in their essence the actual body and blood of Christ whole their accidence (ie the outer appearance) remain the same.

Tractarians, those who wrote Tracts for the Times during the Oxford Movement, principally John Newman, John Keble and Edward Pusey on aspects of teaching and ministry that was more sacramental and symbolic.    

Unitarian, a denomination which is not Christian as it denies the existence of the Trinity, rather it is both Deist believing in the existence of God and that Jesuswas an inspired teacher. It does not hold to the doctrine of original sin, and therefore the need for redemption. It rather emphasises the need for self-improvement, education and enlightenment. It has a strong emphasis on education and scientific research. The scientist Joseph Priestly became a leading Unitarian as did Theophilus Lindsey who founded a Unitarian church in Essex Street London in 1774. In the 18th Century many of the older Presbyterian churches became Unitarianand there were strong and early Unitarian communities in Poland and Transylvania, and in Manchester in the UK.

Vineyard Church: A church which started in the UK in the 1980s sprung from the Vineyard Church USA founded by John Wimber. Now numbers c 160 churches with c 20,000 membership.