Like any group we have words we use, and sometimes we forget that not everyone knows what they all mean. This list hopefully will help. If there are any others, then please let us know so we can add them.
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Ablutions - Quite simply - the washing up. It is part of the service and it follows the communion of the people. Partly because of the importance of all tasks as part of what we offer god - no task is too small and in remembrance of the Christ's promise that 'not one of them was lost'.
Adoration - Adoration is part of our prayer life, and reflects the adoring response of realising God's love for us. The Gloria which we sing/say in church is a good example of adoration.
Alb - The white garment full length is symbolic of the baptismal robe. Alb comes from albus meaning white. The Alb is a reminder of our baptism to shine as a light on the world. The celebrant and most liturgical assistants will probably wear an alb.(see article on vestments)
APBA - APBA stands for A Prayer Book for Australia. It is the 2nd general Prayer Book of the Anglican Church of Australia. The small booklets we use in Church for worship are extracted from APBA without all the options so it is easier to follow.
Ascension - The Ascension of Jesus refers to both the ascension of Jesus into heaven and the feast. Acts 1:1-11 describes it. For 40 days after his resurrection Jesus appeared to the disciples and then from a mountain went up to heaven. As Jesus carried divinity in our humanity and he also carries our humanity into divinity.
Atonement - The work of the redemption of humankind by Jesus is often described at atonement. This is easily understood as 'At One Meant'. The gulf between humanity and God has be overcome in the person and work of Jesus.
Belief - Belief,Understanding and belief are different. By way of example when we say "We believe …" the things that are stated in the Nicene Creed we are not saying that we understand them. What belief means in this context is "trust" i.e. we place our trust in the truths that are represented by these words and concepts which are in the Creed.
Bible - The Greek biblios means "the books" or "Library". It is the various collections of writings accepted sacred scripture in the Church. The Bible is in the Anglican world accepted as the primary record of the revelation of God.
Bishop - The Apostles appointed overseer's to guard the faith and the faithful. In the Anglican Church each Diocese is overseen by a Diocesan Bishop. The origins of this structure is the early Church.
Catholic - Catholic from the Greek phrase 'kata holos" meaning "according to the whole". It was first used to describe the Christian Church in the early 2nd century to emphasize its universal scope. It is importantly a Church for all People at All Times and in All Places. To hold the catholic faith is to be inclusive.
Chasuble - The outermost vestment normally in the liturgical colour of the day. Typically a single sheeted vestment recalls the robe Christ wore on the day of the Crucifixion that was woven from top to bottom without seam.
Christology - Christology the the study of the nature and person of Jesus. This is an important arm of Christian Theology and an important focus during the period of the early Church including the Gospels and the Early Church Councils.
Church - The word Church refers to the whole body of believers in every place and time - all the baptised. It also refers to the local assembly of believers in any one place. It is sometimes used to describe the building in which they meet even though we would normally use the word Church to refer to people.
Compass Rose - The Compass Rose is a symbol of Anglican Communion. The center of the Compass Rose contains the cross of St. George and is surrounded by the inscription in Greek "The truth shall set you free." The points of a compass reflect the spread of Anglican Christianity throughout the world.
Covenant - An agreement entered into by two parties. In the Bible God covenants with his people. Covenants were established in the Old Testament with Abraham Noah and Moses. Jesus establishes and "seals" the New Covenant with his disciples in every age through his blood (see e.g. Luke 22:20).
Deacon - From a Greek word (diakonos) meaning "one who serves" as distinct from a slave (doulos). Today the Deacon is the first order of the ordained ministry and every priest and bishop is firstly a deacon.
Doctrine - A doctrine is a statement about a significant subject in theology with support for the statement being drawn from the scriptures. Most require lengthy definition (particularly after 2000 years of discussion and debate) but can be usefully summarized in a catechism.
Ecology - Ecology (from Greek: "oikos" "house" - "logia" "study of") is the study of the relation of living organisms with each other and their surroundings. There are several perspectives which make this an important area for Christians. We must sustain the thing that sustains us.
Episcopal - Yet another Greek word "Episcopos" which means "overseer". The word therefore refers to Bishops. 'The Episcopal Church' is also Anglican.
Faith - One of the great Bible verses is "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1. Faith for us represents trust or reliance not simply to believe something but to be prepared to trust that belief. Faith does not a need us to abandon intellect and reason that we also see as gifts of God.
Gospel - From the Old English 'God Speil' meaning 'God News' or 'Glad Tidings'. We use the word narrowly to describe the four accounts of the life ministry death and resurrection of the Lord namely Matthew Mark Luke and John. We also use the word generally to describe the message of salvation that God loves us and wants to be one with us.
Heresy - Heresy means any significant deviation from "correct belief" or orthodoxy.
Holiness - Primarily a quality of God. The Hebrew word which we translate as holy means that which is separate or at a distance from. It is a quality that causes humans to tremble with awe/fear in the experience of God’s presence (Isaiah 6:1-8).
Holy - There are two levels of meaning. On the one hand the Hebrew and Greek words suggest separation from the ordinary and given to God. The words coming from the old English are about wholeness completion and perfection.
I am - In the Gospel of John 7 of Jesus statements in the fourth gospel begin in the Greek "ego ami" - "I am". The I am statements are a powerful response to the question 'who is Jesus?'. There is a clear sense in which these are seen to reflect the Name of God revealed to Moses.
Icon - Icon is a Greek word meaning 'image'. Icons are painted images of Jesus or The Trinity or The Saints that are most prominent in the Eastern Orthodox Traditions of Christianity. The importance of Greek Influences in the early part of Celtic Christianity means that they have a part in the Anglican Tradition.
ICXC NIKA - The IC XC NIKA is another Christogram. The meaning is as follows. IC is a short form IESUS or Jesus XC is a short form XRISTOS or Christ NIKA is a greek word for Conquers or Victor. So it means Jesus Christ Conquers. The monogram is sometimes called Christus Victor.
IHS - IHS is officially described as a christogram - a number of letters intertwined together as a reference to Jesus Christ. In Greek the first three letter of the name Jesus are IES. Somehow when this came into Latin it became IHS. Some people assume it means "In His Service" which is a nice interpretation however not the true origins.
Incarnation - Incarnation is a Greek word from the same word we get carnivore from and it means literally 'to become meat'. God the Son became flesh when he was born as the child of Mary. An understanding of the crucifixion and resurrection needs finds it's genesis in an understanding of the incarnation.
INRI - INRI is used in Christian decoration. They are the first letters of the words in latin "Jesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum" or in English "Jesus the Nazarene King of the Jews". This inscription Pilate ordered be placed on the cross (John 19:19).
Intercession - Intercession is prayer where we are specifically asking God to be in control and watching over the welfare of others. In our liturgy there will be a time when we pray for all manner of things and this is usually called the Intercessions or the prayers of the people. Intercession is what we do when we pray for others.
Israel - Israel,God changed Jacobs name to ‘Israel’ (Genesis 32:28) and his sons are the twelve tribes ‘the children of Israel’. The Northern Kingdom was annihilated in 722 B.C. leaving essentially the Jews as the remnant of the children of Israel. Today the nation known as Israel consists mainly of the descendants of Judah i.e. the Jews.
James - A common name in New Testament Times. There are a few James in the New Testament. James the Greater and James the Less; James the son of Zebedee; James the son of Alpheus; James the brother of the Lord; James the son of Mary brother of Joseph; James the brother of Jude.
Judas - Judas Iscariot was one of the 12 chosen by Jesus and it was this Judas who led a detachment of soldiers to arrest Jesus at night. The quite marked thing about the account of the betrayal is that it is accomplished with the sign of brotherhood kinship and affection - a kiss.
Jude - Jude was one of the Twelve and distinguished from Judas Iscariot the betrayer of Jesus. Saints Simon and Jude share a feast October 28. Jude is regarded as the Patron Saint of 'Lost Causes and Hopeless Cases'.
Justification - Justification is one a core themes of Paul's writing. In short all have sinned and are falling short of the glory of God. God is both Justice and Love. God declares the sinner righteous as the debt has been paid in the death of Jesus and through faith is available to all who believe. This is generally termed 'Justification by Faith'.
Kingdom of God - The Kingdom of God is an important part of the message of Jesus. The theme is however so profound and it is unlikely to be explained simply. There is a sense of place presence and event or process was not so remote and regal it is much more about the closeness of God.
Lectionary - A Lectionary is a list or book of portions of the Bible set to be read in the liturgy. We use the APBA Lectionary. There are others including the Roman and the Revised Common and they have variations yet they follow a common thread and often the Gospels Readings are similar. A Lectionary ensures all the Bible not just someone's favourite bits are read.
Lent - A season of 40 days leading up to Easter Day. Lent reminds us of the 40 days that the Gospels tell us of Jesus fasting in the wild. Normally we do not use the Gloria during the Liturgy in Lent either. It is interesting to note that we tend to appreciate these things a little more when we return from lent to celebrate the resurrection.
Liturgical Year - The Liturgical Year in a way is a structured learning program designed to ensure that we cover all the key points and do not just focus on the bit or the Gospel that we like. The Church Year starts 4 Sundays before Christmas and ends on the Saturday before the fourth Sunday before Christmas.
Maundy Thursday - Maundy Thursday is the Day before Good Friday. The name Maundy is thought to come from the latin phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" - "I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you you also should love one another".
Nartex - A narthex of a church is the entrance or lobby area at the end of the nave usually at the far end from the church's main altar. A narthex is part of the church building and not part of the church proper. It is either an indoor area separated from the nave or an external structure such as a porch. In many Churches you enter and leave through the narthex.
Oecumenical - Also spelt Ecumenical comes from the Greek oikoumene meaning the whole inhabited earth. It refers to the whole church and is used to describe the movement for the recognition all believer share a common identity as one body in Christ. It looks for co-operation and unity of purpose between different parts of the church.
Omnipotent - God is understood to be Omnipotent. The means that God is all powerful. This understanding of God is within the context of the Love of God and yet also the freedom that he has given us.
Omnipresent - Anglicans understand God to be Omnipresent. This means that God is present in every place at every time. This is a very important part of our understanding of God. For instance when we go to a hospital or a scripture class we do not take God with us rather we endeavour to reveal God who is already there.
Omniscient - God is understood by Anglicans to be Omniscient. This means that God knows everything. God has all knowledge.
Ordination - Ordination is the sacrament where by the Church commissions people to take authority in some sense over an area of ministry and leadership within the community of Faith. As part of the historic Church the Anglican Church has three orders of 'ordained' ministry that of Bishops Priests and Deacons (who collectively are referred to as clergy).
Orthodox - There are two meanings for the word Orthodox. In the most general sense orthodoxy means accepting what the Church has established as correct (orthodox) doctrine. The second use refers to the Eastern traditions of the Christian faith.
Patriarchs - The common use to the term Patriarchs is to refer to Abraham Isaac and Jacob/Israel and the sons of Israel who give their names to the twelve tribes of Israel. They were held in great esteem by the people of Israel.
Prophecy - The biblical sense of prophecy is - a proclamation of the word of God - addressed to the nation/s or people often in the context of a developing crises. So prophecy in the biblical sense is not crystal ball gazing or Tarot card reading. It is more a shining Gods light.
Quire - The quire is the place set apart on the church for the choir to sing. In traditional gothic architecture this was normally stalls facing each other between the sanctuary and the nave. Many Churches do not have a quireas such.
Qumran - In 1947 a couple of shepherds heard an echo as a stone hit a container. They discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some of the texts are Biblical some Apocryphal and some essentially secular. The Essene Community that lived here was a radical Jewish community with similarities to the New Testament accounts of John the Baptist.
Repent - Repent means to turn around and go the other way. The Greek word is "metanoia" which suggests that has to do with a turning of the mind. In the Bible most references involve an "and" which is implicit in the notion of stop going this way AND setting a new direction.
Resurrection - Resurrection,The Resurrection of Jesus is central to the Christian faith. (Latin: resugere to rise again or to rise from the dead.) We are familiar with this word from the New Testament and the Creeds. Jesus rose again and this is the foundation of Christian faith and thus of our hope of resurrection in Christ.
Revelation - In talking about God revelation is critical for if God does not reveal then we can not know anything about God. We would hasten to add that the revelation is not complete and our capacity of appreciate and comprehend the revelation of God is impaired.
Sacraments - Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace. There are two Dominical (Attributed to Jesus) Sacraments - Baptism and Communion. There are five lesser Sacraments - Confirmation Ordination Marriage Confession and Holy Unction.
Saints - The Greek (hagios) which means "set apart" "sanctified" or "made holy". The word appears 229 times in the original Greek manuscripts. Saints in the Bible refers to the whole company of the believers. We are called to allow the light of Christ to shine through us.
Salvation - The word has a sense of rescue from some undesirable situation or condition. It means for us as individuals the freedom of sins forgiven and a real hope of eternal life. But more than that it means the restoration of the whole created order to the place where it ought to be.
Schismatic - A schismatic is a person or movement that separates from the mainstream church. Generally schism is produced by either fundamental concerns about doctrine and practice or by the desire to exercise autonomy in a region. The great schism was in the 11th Century and is the rift that holds Orthodoxy separate. The next great schism was at the time of the Reformation.
Stole - The stole is normally about three metres in length. It symbolises the yoke of Christ. The yoke is a leather band which allowed people to carry water skins in the ancient middle east. A stole will normally be in the liturgical colour of the day. The celebrant and clergy assisting will be wear a stole.
Supplication - Supplications are the prayers we offer asking of God's help in our own lives and in the daily tasks that confront us.
Synoptic Gospels - Matthew Mark and Luke are sometimes called the 'Synoptic Gospels' as they have common stories narrative and language and they can be laid in parallel to compare the accounts. This has given rise to the theory of 'Q' and two source theory fairly widely accepted by scholars. John clearly stands apart for the first three Gospels.
Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving is so much part of Christian life that it is the name of the prayer at the centre of our liturgy. Gratitude is one of the hallmarks of the christian life.
Theology - Theology from the Greek words 'Theos' and 'Logos' meaning God - Word so means "Words about God". It is the study of God and various aspects of God. It is an understanding of all that God has revealed. Theology is in many senses close to philosophy as a discipline. Theology takes serious account scripture as the primary record of revelation.
Transfiguration - The Transfiguration is a moment where on a high mountain the glory of God is revealed in Jesus - to Peter and James and John. From this moment Jesus sets his sights on Jerusalem and fulfill his destiny.
Trinity - The Trinity is core to our understanding of God. The Father The Son and The Holy Spirit are revealed as God whole and entire not three gods but in absolute and profound unity one God. It suggests at the heart of God is the relationship. This helps us understand why as human beings relationships are critical to our health and well being.
Trisagion - Holy God Holy Mighty Holy Immortal have mercy on us. An ancient Christian prayer or anthem part of the earliest orthodox liturgies and echoing Isaiah 6.3 and Revelation 4.8. The word quite literally means 'Thrice Holy' or 'Holy Three' and affirms the Trinity as strongly poart of early Christian belief. It was often said or sung three times.
Unction - The ministry to the sick may include anointing with holy oil which is called unction. This derives from ancient custom predating the christian era and endorsed in the New Testament (James 5:14). Like all sacramental ministry it is through the physical we touch the spiritual.
Vestments - When you come to the Eucharist on sunday the priest will normally be wearing vestments. These are traditional and and symbolic. These are usually an Alb Stole and Chasuble.
Worship - Worship is the acknowledgement of the Divine and the importance and worth of God in our lives. It happens in Church and in our lives and may be corporate or private.
XP - The Symbol of the P with the X is the first two letters of the word Christ in Greek. A christogram that has been used since very early days in the Church.
YHWH - The Tetragrammaton (four letters) YHWH is the reference to God from the Old Testament. The difficulty is that the four letters are all consonants and no vowels and which makes it exceptionally difficult to pronounce if not indeed impossible to say and that may indeed be the point.
Zion - Zion is the Hebrew name for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was the site of the 1st & 2nd Temple the most holy place in the world where God dwelt on earth. Observant Jews recite the Amidah 3 times a day facing Zion in Jerusalem praying for the rebuilding of the Temple the restoration of Temple service the redemption of the world and the coming of the Messiah.