An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Narrative Criticism

A new method of interpretation of scripture. “Narrative” refers to a story which has a plot and moves from a beginning to an end. It is applicable to the gospels of the NT and many stories in the OT. Its primary focus is the attempt to recognize the “world of the narrative” instead of pursuing […]


An entry space, foyer, or anteroom of a church between the door and the nave. The term is from the Greek for a “small case.” Historically, the narthex was an enclosed vestibule or porch of a basilica. Catechumens and penitents stood in the narthex during the service. It also may serve as a place for […]

Nashotah House, Nashotah, Wisconsin

A theological seminary of the Episcopal Church in the catholic tradition. It was founded on Aug. 30, 1842, by three young deacons, James Lloyd Breck, William Adams, and John Henry Hobart, Jr., who answered the call of Missionary Bishop Jackson Kemper to serve on the western frontier. At first they lived a monastic life, but […]

Nashotah Quarterly Review

This journal first appeared in the Fall of 1960. It was published by Nashotah House. With the Fall 1970 issue the name was changed to Nashotah Review. It ceased publication with the Fall 1976 issue.

Nashotah Scholiast

A publication of the Bishop Welles Brotherhood at Nashotah House from Dec. 1883 until July/Aug. 1885. With the next issue, the name was changed to the Church Scholiast.

Nation-Wide Campaign

A movement launched by the 1919 General Convention “designed to bring the spiritual and material resources of the Church to bear most effectively and adequately upon her whole task as witness to the Master.” It involved a survey of the church's needs and a plan of action to address those needs. It also involved a […]

Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The

See Christmas, or Christ's Mass.

Nativity of St. John the Baptist, The

This feast of our Lord is celebrated on June 24 in the Episcopal calendar of the church year. Luke’s gospel (Chapter 1) records that John was miraculously born to Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were childless and advanced in age when John was conceived. The angel Gabriel told Zechariah that Elizabeth would bear him a son […]

Natural Law

Universal moral law that is given by God and knowable by human reason. It has been understood in terms of ethics that can be derived from reflection on ordinary human experience and contrasted with law that is divinely revealed. These universal standards provide norms of right conduct that may serve as the basis for moral […]

Navajoland Area Mission

Article VI of the Episcopal Church Constitution provides for the establishment of an area mission of the church for territory not included within a diocese. The 1976 General Convention authorized all territory in the dioceses of Utah and Arizona lying within the boundaries of the Navajo Indian Nation to be organized as an area mission. […]


The place in the church building for the congregation. It is between the sanctuary and the narthex or entry of the church building. The term may be derived from the Latin navis, “ship,” which was an early symbol of the church.

Neal, Emily Gardiner

(Oct. 22, 1910-Sept. 23, 1989). Leader of the healing movement in the Episcopal Church. She was born in New York. She was educated at Brearly School and David Mannes College of Music, where she trained as a violinist. She married Alvin Neal, who died in 1961. She was a writer, teacher, and “converted skeptic.” In […]

Neale, John Mason

(Jan. 24, 1818-Aug. 6, 1866). British cleric, hymn writer, and translator. He was born in London. Neale was caught up with the ideals of the Oxford Movement while he was at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1839 Neale and Benjamin Webb founded the Cambridge Camden Society. After 1845 it was known as the Ecclesiological Society. The […]

Neau, Elias

(1662-Sept. 7, 1722). A successful “missionary vestryman” in colonial New York. He was born in France to Huguenot parents. He fled the country in 1679 and became an English citizen. He then came to the colony of New York. In 1692 his ship was seized by the French. He was made a slave and placed […]

Nebraska College and Divinity School, Nebraska City, Nebraska

Nebraska College and Divinity School was started at Nebraska City in 1861, the second year of the episcopate of the Rt. Rev. Joseph Cruikshank Talbot (1816-1883), Missionary Bishop of the Northwest. Bishop Robert Harper Clarkson (1826-1884) of Nebraska provided leadership for the school, and called it Talbot Hall in memory of Bishop Talbot. The school […]

Nebraska, Diocese of

The territory of Nebraska was first under the jurisdiction of Jackson Kemper, Missionary Bishop of Missouri and Indiana. In 1859 it became a part of the jurisdiction of the Missionary Bishop of the Northwest, Joseph Cruikshank Talbot. The 1865 General Convention created the Missionary District of Nebraska and Dakota. The primary convention of the Diocese […]


See Charismatic Renewal, or Neo-Pentecostalism.


A heretical teaching that understood Christ to be two persons, one human and one divine. It also held that Mary was not the Mother of God (“Theotokos”), but only the mother of the human Christ. It was named for Nestorius (c. 381-c. 451), who was Patriarch of Constantinople (428-431). Nestorianism was condemned at the Council […]

Nevada, Diocese of

The diocese includes the entire state of Nevada. It was preceded by a number of missionary districts. On Oct. 21, 1865, the House of Bishops established the Missionary District of Nevada and parts adjacent with jurisdiction in Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. In 1868 the Bishops changed it to the Missionary District of Nevada […]

New American Bible, The (1970)

The first Roman Catholic Bible translated into English from the original Hebrew and Greek. The work was done by members of the Catholic Biblical Association of America. It was commissioned by the Bishops' Committee of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. It is authorized by the Episcopal Church for use in worship.

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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.