An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Smith, Captain John

(Jan. 1579-June 21, 1631). An organizer of the Virginia Company of London. Smith was born in Willoughby, Lincolnshire, England. He promoted the Virginia Company's plan to found a colony in America. In 1606 he and 143 other colonists sailed to Virginia. They landed at Jamestown on May 24, 1607. Legend claims that he was rescued […]

Smith, John Cotton

(Aug. 4, 1826-Jan. 9, 1882). Nineteenth-century broad churchman. He was born in Andover, Massachusetts. Smith attended Phillips Academy, Andover, and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1847. After studying theology at Kenyon College, he was ordained deacon on May 6, 1849, and priest on Aug. 4, 1850. He began his ministry as rector of St. John's […]

Smith, Robert

(Aug. 25, 1732-Oct. 28, 1801). First Bishop of South Carolina. He was born in the County of Norfolk, England. Smith studied at Caius College and Gonville College, Cambridge University, and received his B.A. in 1753. Smith was ordained deacon on Mar. 7, 1756, and priest on Dec. 21, 1756. He emigrated to America. Smith became […]

Smith, William

(Sept. 7, 1727-May 14, 1803). Educator and priest. Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Smith received his M.A. degree from the University of Aberdeen in 1747. He lived in London after graduation and served as an agent for the Society for the Education of Parochial Schoolmasters and then for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. […]

Smith, William

(1754-Apr. 6, 1821). Leading priest and musician. He was born probably at Aberdeen, Scotland, and possibly attended the University of Aberdeen. Smith came to the American colonies in 1785 as a priest in the Scottish Nonjuring Episcopal Church. He served from Jan. until July 1785 as minister at Trinity Church, Oxford, and All Saints, Pequestan, […]


1) A Russian theological term indicating a conciliar and ecumenical ideal of the church, based on a spiritual unity of freedom and love. This interior communion of the church is contrasted with Protestant individualism and the external ordering of the Roman Catholic Church. The term is a neologism, or new word, based on the Russian […]

Social Gospel

The Social Gospel movement, which began towards the end of the nineteenth century and continued until World War I, was chiefly a response to the failure of mainline Protestant churches to address the social realities of poverty and industrialization. Their tendency had been to concern themselves exclusively with individual salvation and economic prosperity. As a […]

Social Justice

Justice indicates what is right or fair. Social justice is concerned with the fairness of transactions and distribution. What is called commutative justice considers such matters as contracts and due process of law. Commutative justice is focused on civil law, but it includes matters of criminal law in the case of punishment for theft. Distributive […]


A pious fellowship or guild that promotes the Christian life of its members and may include other religious purposes such as evangelism or outreach to the needy. Although the term has been associated with Roman Catholic laity, there have been Anglican and Episcopal sodalities. See Living Rosary of Our Lady and S. Dominic.

Solemn Collects

The solemn collects are derived from the most ancient western form of the prayers of the people. The biddings date from the third or fourth century, and the collects date from the fifth century. The ancient solemn collects appear in the Gelasian and Gregorian sacramentaries. The practice of kneeling for the bidding and standing for […]


See Eremitic; see Hermit, Hermitess.

Songs for Celebration

This 1980 hymnal supplement was intended to broaden the forms of musical expression available to the church. It was produced under the direction of the Standing Commission on Church Music as No. IV in the Church Hymnal Series. George E. Mims served as music editor. This hymnal supplement includes canticles, canons, hymns, and folk songs.

Songs for Liturgy and More Hymns and Spiritual Songs

This supplement to The Hymnal (1940) was prepared by the Joint Commission on Church Music and approved by the 1970 General Convention. It was published in 1971. The general editor was Norman C. Mealy.


Theology of salvation. Theological reflection on the meaning of salvation in Christ and how we may share salvation by faith. Salvation is eternal life in the fullness of God's love. In Christ, we are redeemed from sin and death and restored to right relationship with God. We are made righteous and justified in Christ, despite […]


The spiritual nature of a human being, as distinguished from the bodily or physical nature. This distinction is reflected in Eucharistic Prayer I, which states, “here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, our selves, our souls and bodies. . . .” (BCP, p. 336). Scriptural sources and Christian teaching have not always been […]

Source Criticism

Critical study of the sources of the NT gospels. Given the similarity yet individuality of the synoptic gospels, nineteenth-century scholars sought to find a way to determine the gospels' historical connection to each other. They sought to determine the sources that were used by the authors of the gospels to produce the three distinct but […]

South Carolina, Diocese of

The first convention of this diocese was held on May 12, 1785, at the State House in Charles Town. The 1922 General Convention voted to divide the diocese. The Diocese of South Carolina includes the following counties: Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, […]

South Dakota, Diocese of

The House of Bishops established the Missionary District of Dakota in 1868, and in 1871 it established the Missionary District of Niobrara. On Oct. 11, 1883, the House of Bishops divided the Missionary District of Dakota into the Missionary District of North Dakota and the Missionary District of South Dakota. The Missionary District of Niobrara […]

South Florida, Diocese of

The 1892 General Convention voted to divide the Diocese of Florida. The Missionary Jurisdiction of Southern Florida included all the counties in Florida south of the counties of Leon, Alachua, Putman and St. John's. The first convocation of the Missionary District was held Feb. 21-22, 1893, at the Church of the Holy Cross, Sanford. On […]

Southeast Florida, Diocese of

The 1969 General Convention voted to divide the Diocese of South Florida into three dioceses. One of the three dioceses had the temporary name of the East Coast Diocese of Florida, but at the primary convention at Holy Trinity Church, West Palm Beach, Oct. 8, 1969, the name was changed to the Diocese of Southeast […]

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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.