An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Dedication and Consecration of a Church, The

The BCP provides a form for the Dedication and Consecration of a Church (pp. 567-574). The bishop presides at this service. The church may be consecrated at any time after it is ready for regular use as a place of worship. The building does not have to be debt-free or owned (see BCP, p. 575). […]

Dehon, Theodore

(Dec. 8, 1776-Aug. 6, 1817). High church bishop. He was born in Boston. He graduated from Harvard College in 1795 and received his theological education from Samuel Parker, later Bishop of Massachusetts. He was ordained to the diaconate on Dec. 24, 1797, and to the priesthood on Oct. 9, 1800. Dehon served as rector of […]


See Apotheosis; see Theosis.


A teaching about God which appeared in both Christian and non-Christian forms during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in England and France, under the influence of rationalism and the rise of natural science. Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1580-1630) introduced deist thought to England. It was developed by Matthew Tindal (1653-1733) and John Toland (1670-1722), among […]

DeKoven Center, The, Racine, Wisconsin

Located on the campus of the former Racine College (1852-1933), it was named for the Rev. James DeKoven, warden of Racine College, 1859-1879. The DeKoven Center is a complex that includes the Collegiate Chapel of St. John; the shrine of James DeKoven; gardens and a nature trail; a gym and pool; and Taylor Hall. The […]

DeKoven, James

(Sept. 19, 1831-Mar. 19, 1879). DeKoven was born in Middletown, Connecticut. He graduated from Columbia College in 1851 and as valedictorian at the General Theological Seminary in 1854. DeKoven was ordained deacon on Aug. 6, 1854, and priest on Sept. 23, 1855. In 1854 he became professor of ecclesiastical history at Nashotah House and rector […]

DeLancey Divinity School

William Heathcote DeLancey (1797-1865), the first Bishop of Western New York, opened a diocesan school of divinity at Geneva, New York, in 1850. The Rev. Dr. William Dexter Wilson (1816-1900) was in charge of it. It operated until 1858. On Feb. 1, 1861, DeLancey opened the Diocesan Training School at Geneva, under the direction of […]

Delaney Sisters. Annie Elizabeth

(Bessie) (1891-1995), and Sarah Louise (Sadie) Delaney (1889-1999), were the daughters of Henry Beard Delaney and Nancy Logan Delaney. Henry Delaney was a Suffragan Bishop of North Carolina and the second African American bishop in the Episcopal Church. Annie and Sarah and their siblings were raised on the campus of St. Augustine's College, Raleigh, North […]

Delaney, Henry Beard

(Feb. 5, 1858-Apr. 14, 1928). Second African American bishop in the Episcopal Church. He was born a slave in St. Mary's, Georgia. Delaney was raised in Fernandina, Florida. He was a grown man when he entered St. Augustine's College at Raleigh, North Carolina, from which he graduated in 1885. Upon graduation he became a teacher […]

Delaware, Diocese of

It was organized on Sept. 26-27, 1786, at Dover. The first bishop was not consecrated until 1841. On May 14, 1935, St. John's Church, Wilmington, was set apart as St. John's Cathedral.

Demby, Edward Thomas

(Feb. 13, 1869-Oct. 14, 1957). First African American Episcopal bishop in the United States. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Demby studied at Howard University, and in 1893 received his B.D. from Wilberforce University. He was dean of Paul Quinn College in Texas between 1894 and 1896. Demby was ordained deacon on Mar. 16, 1898, […]


A twentieth-century theological term that was used extensively by Rudolph Bultmann. He understood the word “myth” to be a way to communicate one's faith to others in a time- and culturally-dependent way. For example, in the NT, the writers used the language and specific terminology of their own time to communicate their faith. But it […]

Denver Theological School and the College of St

John the Evangelist. These related educational institutions in Colorado were for the education of clergy. Theological education began at Matthews Hall, Golden, and then moved to Denver in 1879 as the Denver Theological School. The College of St. John the Evangelist, “a theological school for the education of clergy for the West,” operated at Greeley […]

Depose, Sentence of Deposition

Sentence of ecclesiastical discipline pronounced by a bishop that permanently excludes the exercise of ordained ministry by the bishop, priest, or deacon who is deposed. Conditions for deposition are prescribed by the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

Deposit of Faith, The

The saving revelation of Christ that has been given to the church, especially as known through biblical witness and tradition. The deposit of faith is to be upheld and proclaimed by the church. This requires fidelity to the received tradition, willingness to rediscover continually the truth of the Christian faith in each time and situation […]


1) In canon law, a deposition is a sentence that removes or deposes a bishop, priest, or deacon from the ordained ministry. A member of the clergy who is deposed is entirely banned from the sacred ministry, and not merely changed from one order to another. For example, a deposed bishop could not serve as […]


A state of corruption that is believed to affect the unredeemed human nature. The doctrine of original sin affirms that the first human beings sinned against the Creator in such a way that their descendants inherit a corrupt nature. It derives by contrast from the scriptural teaching that the divine Word took flesh to redeem […]


Prayer for deliverance. Deprecations in the Great Litany include petitions for deliverance from all evil and wickedness, all blindness of heart, all inordinate and sinful affections, all false doctrine, lightning and tempest, and all oppression. Deprecations in the Great Litany ask for deliverance by the mystery of Christ's holy Incarnation, by Christ's agony and bloody […]

Deputies, House of

The House of Deputies is the oldest of the two Houses of General Convention. It has equal numbers of clergy and lay deputies selected by the dioceses of the church. The first session of the first General Convention, held in 1789, consisted only of the House of Deputies. It adopted a constitutional provision establishing a […]


Each diocese, area mission, and the Convocation of the American Churches in Europe is entitled to not more than four ordained representatives in the House of Deputies. They must be presbyters or deacons, and canonically resident in the diocese. Each diocese, area mission, and the Convocation of the American Churches in Europe is also entitled […]

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Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.