An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


A small gable or gable-shaped canopy over a tabernacle.

Gabriel the Archangel

Archangel accorded the highest rank after Michael the Archangel in Jewish theology. The Book of Daniel (chs. 8 and 9) records that Gabriel helped Daniel to understand his visions. Gabriel tells Zechariah of the coming birth of his son John the Baptist and announces the conception of Jesus to Mary (Lk 1). In the 1549 […]

Gadsden, Christopher Edwards

(Nov. 25, 1785-June 24, 1852). Bishop and early advocate of a general seminary to educate clergy. He was born in Charleston, South Carolina. Gadsden graduated from Yale College in 1804, and then returned to South Carolina to study theology. He was ordained deacon on July 25, 1807. He began his ministry at St. John's Church, […]

Gailor, Thomas Frank

(Sept. 17, 1856-Oct. 3, 1935). Educator and Presiding Bishop. He was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Gailor received his B.A. in 1876 from Racine College, where he was the valedictorian, and his S.T.B. from the General Theological Seminary in 1879. He was ordained deacon on May 15, 1879, and priest on Sept. 17, 1880. Gailor began […]

Gallaudet, Thomas

(June 3, 1822-Aug. 27, 1902). Father of Episcopal missionary work among the hearing impaired. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He received his B.A. in 1842 and his M.A. in 1845 from Washington College (Trinity), Hartford. From Sept. 1843 until Oct. 1, 1858, he taught in the New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes. He was ordained […]

Galley, Howard Evans, Jr.

(Apr. 24, 1929-May 20, 1993). Author, editor, musician, and lay leader of the liturgical movement in the Episcopal Church. He was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He received his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts and his M.A. from New York University. Galley was a member of the Church Army from 1951 to 1981. His ministry […]

Gambier Observer

The first periodical published by the Episcopal Church in the Midwest. Its founder and sponsor was Bishop Philander Chase, the first Bishop of Ohio. When it was first published on May 28, 1830, it was called the Gambier Observer: Devoted to the Interests of Religion in the Protestant Episcopal Church. It was published under this […]

Gantt, Edward

(1746-c. 1837). Gantt and Mason Locke Weems were the first two persons ordained in England after Parliament passed an act which allowed the ordination of deacons and priests without the requirement of an oath of allegiance to the English monarch. He was born in Prince George County, Maryland, and practiced medicine in Somerset County. He […]

Garden, Alexander

(1685-Sept. 27, 1756). Third Commissary to North and South Carolina. He was born and educated in Scotland. Garden became a priest in the Church of England. He came to the American colonies in 1719. Shortly after his arrival, he became rector of St. Philip's Church, Charleston, South Carolina. In 1729 the Bishop of London named […]

Gardiner, Robert Hallowell

(Nov. 5, 1882-Sept. 16, 1944). Lay ecumenical leader. He was born in Newton, Massachusetts. Gardiner received his B.A. in 1903, his M.A. in 1904, and his law degree in 1907 from Harvard University. He was a major in World War I, commanding the 3rd Battalion, 303rd Field Artillery in France. In 1928 Gardiner organized the […]


The term is from the Old French for “throat” or “gullet” and related to the word for “gargle.” It was originally a projecting waterspout used in gothic architecture to throw water from the roof gutter or upper part of a building or tower. It protected the building by throwing water away from the walls or […]

Garrett, Alexander Charles

(Nov. 4, 1832-Feb. 19, 1924). Presiding Bishop and missionary. He was born in Ballymot, County Sligo, Ireland. Garrett received his B.A. from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1855. He was ordained deacon on July 6, 1856, and priest on July 5, 1857. He held the curacy of East Worldham, Hampshire, until Sept. 1859. He went to […]


A grassy quadrangle or garden surrounded by a cloister walk in a monastery, church, seminary, or college.

Gaudete Sunday

The third Sunday of Advent in the Roman Catholic calendar of the church year. The term is derived from the Latin opening words of the introit antiphon, “Rejoice (Gaudete) in the Lord always.” The theme of the day expresses the joy of anticipation at the approach of the Christmas celebration. This theme reflects a lightening […]

Gavin, Frank Stanton Burns

(Oct. 31, 1890-Mar. 20, 1938). He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Gavin received his A.B. from Cincinnati University in 1912; and his M.A. in 1914 and Ph.D. in 1922 from Columbia University. In 1915 he received his S.T.B. from the General Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon on May 15, 1914, and priest on Apr. […]

Gelasian Sacramentary

The earliest source of a number of collects and other forms in the BCP. A sacramentary is a liturgical book which contains those parts of the rites (Daily Offices, Eucharist, and Pastoral Offices) read by the celebrant. The oldest known Roman Sacramentary is the Leonine or Verona Sacramentary which exists in a manuscript from about […]

General Board of Examining Chaplains (GBEC)

The General Convention of 1970 created this board to standardize the process of canonical examination for ordination. The GBEC includes four bishops, six clergy with pastoral cures or in specialized ministries, six members of accredited seminary faculties or of other educational institutions, and six lay persons. The members of the board are elected by the […]

General Convention

The national legislative body of the Episcopal Church. It consists of a House of Bishops, which includes all active and retired bishops, and a House of Deputies, which includes four lay persons and four clergy from each diocese, each area mission, and the Convocation of the American Churches in Europe. The Convention meets every three […]

General Convention Special Program (GCSP)

At the 1967 General Convention in Seattle, Washington, Presiding Bishop John E. Hines called on the Episcopal Church to “take its place humbly and boldly alongside of, and in support of, the dispossessed and oppressed peoples of this country for the healing of our national life.” In response to Hines's leadership, the General Convention adopted […]

General Ordination Examination (GOE)

The General Convention of 1970 created the General Board of Examining Chaplains (GBEC), with responsibility to prepare at least annually a General Ordination Examination covering 1) The Holy Scriptures; 2) church history, including the ecumenical movement; 3) Christian theology; 4) Christian ethics and moral theology; 5) studies in contemporary society, including racial and minority groups; […]

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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.