An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Sullivan, Arthur Seymour

(May 13, 1842-Nov. 22, 1900). English composer. He was born in London. Sullivan was educated as a chorister in the Chapel Royal (1854-1858), the Royal Academy of Music, and at Leipzig Conservatory. Sullivan was best known for his famous Savoy Operas, with texts by William S. Gilbert. Sullivan was also highly respected as a church […]

Summary of the Law, The

The Summary of the Law includes the two commandments that call for the love of God and the love of neighbor. These commandments appear separately in the OT (Dt 6:5; Lv 19:18). Although there is some precedent in pre-Christian Judaism for bringing these two commandments together, Jesus was apparently the first to formulate them precisely […]

Sunday Church School

The first Episcopal Sunday Church School was opened in 1790 by James Milnor and Jackson Kemper at the United Parish of Christ Church and St. Peter’s, Philadelphia. William White was rector of the United Parish at that time. The Sunday School in the Episcopal Church became a conscious instrument for religious education in 1826 with […]

Sunday Letter

One of the first seven letters of the alphabet, “A” through “g,” is assigned to each date in the calendar year (except Feb. 29) in rotation in the Prayer Book calendar (pp. 19-30). The letter “A” is assigned to Jan. 1, Jan. 8, Jan. 15, etc. The letter “b” is assigned to Jan. 2, Jan. […]

Sunday Visitant

This periodical was the second weekly publication in the Episcopal Church. It began publication on Jan. 3, 1818, at Charleston, South Carolina. Its full title was Sunday Visitant; or Weekly Repository of Christian Knowledge. It was edited by the Rev. Andrew Fowler (1760-1850), and published until Dec. 25, 1819.


The person who has been designated as the head or presider of a religious community. The superior is typically elected for a term of years by the members of the community. The superior of an abbey is an abbot or abbess. The term may be used as a title.

Supplemental Liturgical Materials (SLM)

A booklet prepared by the Standing Liturgical Commission and published by Church Hymnal Corporation in 1991 to supplement the existing Rite 2 liturgies of the BCP. It includes materials for Morning and Evening Prayer, complete eucharistic prayers, and forms for the eucharistic prayer for use with the Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist (BCP, pp. […]

Supplemental Liturgical Texts, Prayer Book Studies 30

See Prayer Book Studies; see Supplemental Liturgical Materials (SLM).

Suter, John Wallace

(Dec. 1, 1859-Apr. 11, 1942). Priest and liturgist. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Suter received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1881 and his B.D. from the Episcopal Theological School in 1885. He was ordained deacon on June 17, 1885, and priest on June 8, 1886. From 1885 until 1912 he was the rector […]

Suter, John Wallace, Jr.

(June 18, 1890-Nov. 27, 1977). He was born in Winchester, Massachusetts. Suter received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1912 and his B.D. from the Episcopal Theological School in 1914. He was ordained deacon on June 7, 1914, and priest on Apr. 25, 1915. Suter was assistant minister and director of Christian Education at Christ […]


A process of congregational self-evaluation for mission and ministry. The name is an acronym for five aspects of church mission as expressed in “The Next Step in Mission”: service, worship, evangelism, education, and pastoral care. The Next Step was adopted by General Convention in 1982 at the suggestion of Presiding Bishop John M. Allin. It […]

Syle, Henry Winter

(Nov. 9, 1846-Jan. 6, 1890). First hearing-impaired person ordained in the Episcopal Church. He was born in Shanghai, China, and lost his hearing as a result of scarlet fever. He studied at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, St. John's College, Cambridge, and in 1872 received his M.A. from Yale University. While teaching at the New York […]


The function of conscience as a guide to conduct. The term may be derived from the Greek, “consciousness,” hence our term conscience. Because of a scribal error, it is often called synderesis or synteresis. Contemporary usage in moral theology concerns the capacity for deciding right or wrong in a particular case in light of general […]


This term comes from the Greek synodos, “a meeting” or “a coming together.” It means an assembly of bishops or a meeting of church people. Before the Council of Nicaea (325), synod and council were used interchangeably. After the Council of Nicaea, the term “council” was used for an ecumenical council and the term “synod” […]


See Syneidesis.

Systematic Theology

An approach to theology that integrates revealed truths and theological reflection into a coherent whole. For example, systematic theology may be applied to consider how salvation in Christ is made available to humanity through the church. The relationships between truths of faith and Christian doctrines are synthesized and arranged in terms of various ordering principles […]


According to Ex 25-30, 35-40, the Tabernacle was a portable sanctuary of the Israelites. It was constructed at Sinai in connection with the making of the covenant. It was to be a place of sacrifice and worship. Rectangular in shape, the Tabernacle had a wooden framework and was covered with curtains. Its two main sections […]

Taiwan, Diocese of

The Missionary District of Taiwan (Formosa) was transferred to the Episcopal Church from the Nippon Seikokai on July 6, 1960. It is now a Diocese of the Episcopal Church.

Taizé Chant

This form of contemporary liturgical song was first developed for use by the ecumenical Christian community at Taizé, France. It uses repetitive structures that can easily be memorized, along with other parts for solo voices, choirs, and instruments. Jacques Berthier prepared the musical settings for Taizé chant. In recent years it has gained acceptance and […]

Talbot, Ethelbert

(Oct. 9, 1848-Feb. 27, 1928). Fifteenth Presiding Bishop and ecumenist. He was born in Fayette, Missouri. Talbot graduated from Dartmouth College in 1870 and from the General Theological Seminary in 1873. He was ordained deacon on June 29, 1873, and priest on Nov. 4, 1874. From 1873 until 1887, he was rector of St. James' […]

2647 records

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.