An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Gospel Side

” An archaic term referring to the left side of the altar, and that side of the church building, as viewed by the congregation from the nave. The gospel was read from this side of the altar in the low mass of the Roman Rite. The epistle was read from the opposite side of the altar, which was known as the “Epistle Side.” This usage made its way into widespread Anglican practice after the revival of ceremonial in the second half of the nineteenth century. The BCP discourages this practice, stating “it is desirable that the lessons be read from a lectern or pulpit, and that the Gospel be read from the same lectern, or from the pulpit, or from the midst of the congregation” (p. 406).

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.