An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Western New York, Diocese of

The 1838 General Convention of voted to divide the Diocese of New York. This was the first division of a diocese and the first diocese that did not follow state lines. The primary convention of the Diocese of Western New York met at Trinity Church, Geneva. The 1868 General Convention divided the diocese as did […]

Western North Carolina, Diocese of

The diocese was created in Oct. 1895 when the General Convention voted to divide the Diocese of North Carolina. It was first called the Missionary District of Asheville and held its primary convention at Trinity Church, Asheville, Nov. 12-13, 1895. On Apr. 26, 1922, the convention voted to change the name to the Diocese of […]

Western Texas, Missionary District of

On Oct. 26, 1874, the General Convention divided Texas into the Diocese of Texas and the Missionary Districts of Northern Texas and Western Texas. The primary convention of the Missionary District of Western Texas met at St. Mark's Church, San Antonio, May 6-8, 1875. The Missionary District became the Diocese of West Texas at the […]

Western Theological Seminary, Chicago

See Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.

Wetmore, James

(Dec. 25, 1695-May 15, 1760). One of the Yale Converts. He was born in Middletown, Connecticut. Wetmore graduated from Yale College in 1714, and was ordained a Congregational minister in Nov. 1718. In Sept. 1722, while pastor of the First Congregational Church in New Haven, Connecticut, he and several other Congregational ministers announced that they […]

Wharton College, Austin, Texas

It was founded in 1858 by the Rev. Charles Gillette (1813-Mar. 6, 1869), and named after his wife, Mary Ann Wharton. The school received its charter on Feb. 11, 1860, and closed in 1865.

Wharton, Charles Henry

(May 25, 1748-July 23, 1833). An organizer of the Episcopal Church. He was born in St. Mary's County, Maryland. Wharton was raised a Roman Catholic, and in 1760 he entered the Jesuit college at Saint-Omer, France. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on Sept. 19, 1772, and then became a chaplain to the Roman […]

Wharton, Francis

(Mar. 7, 1820-Feb. 21, 1889). Lawyer, priest, and government official. He was born in Philadelphia. Wharton graduated from Yale College in 1839 and then studied law. He was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1843. Wharton became active in the Episcopal Church after the death of his wife in 1854. For a while he edited […]

Whipple, Henry Benjamin

(Feb. 15, 1822-Sept. 16, 1901). Bishop and missionary to American Indians. He was born in Adams, Jefferson County, New York. Whipple studied at the Oberlin Collegiate Institute but did not receive a degree. He was raised a Presbyterian, but he decided to study for ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. He was ordained deacon on […]

Whitaker, Alexander

(1585-Mar. 1617). The “Apostle of Virginia.” He was born in Cambridge, England. Whitaker received his B.A. in 1604/1605 and his M.A. from Cambridge University in 1608. He was ordained a priest in the Church of England. After serving several years in England, he came to the Virginia colony in 1611. Whitaker began his ministry in […]

White, Edwin Augustine

(Dec. 27, 1854-July 6, 1925). Priest and noted canon lawyer. He was engaged in law before studying theology. He was ordained deacon on Dec. 18, 1887, and priest on Oct. 31, 1888. He taught canon law at the General Theological Seminary, Bexley Hall, and Western Theological Seminary. White was a deputy to eight General Conventions, […]

White, Lurana Mary

(Apr. 12, 1870-Apr. 15, 1935). Member of an Anglican religious order and co-founder of the Society of the Atonement. She was born in New York City. On Oct. 17, 1894, she became a postulant in the Community of the Sisters of the Holy Child. On Sept. 25, 1896, she took the vows of poverty, obedience, […]

White, William

(Apr. 4, 1748-July 17, 1836). First Bishop of Pennsylvania and one of the chief architects of the newly independent church. He was born in Philadelphia. White graduated from the College of Philadelphia in 1765 and then studied theology under Richard Peters and Jacob Duche. He was ordained deacon on Dec. 23, 1770, and priest on […]

Whitefield, George

(Dec. 16, 1714-Sept. 30, 1770). Leading figure in the “Great Awakening” in eighteenth-century America. He was born in Gloucester, England. Whitefield attended Pembroke College, Oxford University, 1733 until 1736, where he came under the influence of Charles and John Wesley. He was ordained deacon in 1736. In 1738 he came with the Wesleys to Georgia. […]


A traditional English name for the Feast of Pentecost. The term is a corruption of “White Sunday.” It is associated with the white robes of baptism which were worn by the newly baptized at the Pentecost service. The liturgical color for the Feast of Pentecost is red.

Whittingham, William Rollinson

(Dec. 2, 1805-Oct. 17, 1879). Bishop and influential early catholic. He was born in New York City. Whittingham graduated from the General Theological Seminary in 1825 and became its librarian. He was ordained deacon on Mar. 11, 1827, and priest on Dec. 17, 1829. Whittingham began his ordained ministry as chaplain at the Charity School […]


A woman who has remained unmarried since the death of her husband. In biblical times, women were very much dependent on male relatives for their welfare. A woman could find herself in a vulnerable and defenseless position when her husband died. An untimely and early death of the husband could be seen as judgment for […]

Wilberforce, William

(Aug. 24, 1759-July 29, 1833). English philanthropist, reformer, orator, and evangelical layman. He was born in Hull, Yorkshire. Wilberforce studied at St. John's College, Cambridge University, 1776-1779. In 1780 he was elected to the House of Commons representing Hull. It was in the House of Commons that he worked against slavery and the slave trade. […]

Wilkinson, Christopher

(d. Apr. 15, 1729). Second Commissary to Maryland. Bishop of London John Robinson appointed Wilkinson Commissary of the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1716. He served until his death.

Willan, Healey

(Oct. 12, 1880-Feb. 16, 1968). Renowned composer of church music. He was born in Balham, in Surrey, England. He trained at St. Saviour's, Eastbourne. After advanced study in organ and piano, he served several churches in and near London. In 1913 he came to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, as head of the music theory department at […]

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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.