An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Brigid, or Bride

(c. 453-c. 523). Very little is known about Brigid, except that she became a nun and founded the first nunnery in Ireland at the Church of the Oak, now Kildare. She is thus known as the Abbess of Kildare. She is also known as St. Bride, and “the Mary of the Gael.” With Patrick and […]

Bristol College, Bristol, Pennsylvania

In 1825 the Rev. Drs. Gregory Townsend Bedell, James Milnor, and Stephen Higginson Tyng founded the Episcopal Education Society of Philadelphia. They began a manual labor college for prospective ministers near Wilmington, Delaware. It moved to Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and reopened as Bristol College on Oct. 2, 1833. It promoted the idea of “uniting […]

Broad Church Movement

The term appeared in mid-nineteenth century theological discourse to describe an approach to the doctrine and worship of the Church of England which was more tolerant and liberal than the views of the existing low church and high church parties. Thomas Arnold, S. T. Coleridge, F. D. Maurice, A. P. Stanley, and Benjamin Jowett are […]

Brooks, Phillips

(Dec. 13, 1835-Jan. 23, 1893). Bishop and celebrated preacher. He was born in Boston and received his B.A. from Harvard in 1855. After receiving his B.D. from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1859, he was ordained deacon on July 1, 1859, and priest on May 27, 1860. Brooks served two pastorates in Philadelphia, one at […]


The term has been applied to male Christians since the earliest NT times. The language of family kinship recalls the closeness of the bond that is shared by those who live in Christ. For example, the Gospel of Mark (3:35) records Jesus' statement that “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister […]

Brown, Daniel

(Apr. 26, 1698-Apr. 13, 1723). One of the Yale converts. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut. Brown (sometimes Browne) graduated from Yale College in 1714. He was the rector of the Hopkins Grammar School in New Haven. In 1718 he was appointed tutor in Yale College and remained in that position until 1722. On […]

Brown, Lelia Ann

(Sister Anna Mary) (June 14, 1873-Jan. 2, 1967). Leading African American sister. She was born in Macon, North Carolina. Brown was left an orphan as a small child and brought up by a white Baptist minister. She was confirmed in the Episcopal Church in 1895, and in 1897 she entered the novitiate of the Community […]

Brown, Ray Francis

(June 23, 1897-Mar. 23, 1964). Church musician and composer. He was born in Roxbury, Vermont. Brown was a graduate of Oberlin College and an associate of the American Guild of Organists. Upon graduation from college he became director of the Music School of Fisk University, Nashville. In 1935 he became instructor in church music and […]

Brown, Robert Raymond

(June 16, 1910-Feb. 5, 1994). Bishop and civil rights leader. He was born in Garden City, Kansas. Brown received his B.A. in 1933 from St. Mary's University and his B.D. in 1937 from the Virginia Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon on June 20, 1937, and priest on Dec. 24, 1937. He was priest-in-charge of […]

Brown, William Montgomery

(Nov. 6, 1855-Oct. 31, 1937). Deposed bishop. He was born in Wayne County, near Norville, Ohio. Brown attended Seabury Hall, Faribault, Minnesota, and then studied theology at Bexley Hall, Gambier, Ohio. He was ordained deacon on June 17, 1883, and priest on May 22, 1884. Brown served Grace Church, Galion, Ohio, from 1883 until 1891. […]

Brownell, Thomas Church

(Oct. 19, 1779-Jan. 13, 1865). Seventh Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. He was born in Westport, Massachusetts. Brownell began his education at the College of Rhode Island, but transferred to Union College where he graduated in 1804. From 1805 until 1817, he taught at Union College, and during his last years there he studied […]

Browning, Edmond Lee

(b. Mar. 11, 1929). Twenty-fourth Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. He was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. Browning received his B.A. in 1952 and his B.D. in 1954 from the University of the South. He was ordained deacon on July 2, 1954, and priest on May 23, 1955. Browning was an assistant at the […]

Bruton Parish, Williamsburg, Virginia

An important pre-Revolutionary parish. It had a strong association with both the College of William and Mary and the colonial government of Virginia. In 1632 or 1633, the parish of Middler Plantation was formed. In 1658 it was combined, by act of the Colonial Assembly, with Harrop Parish to form the new parish of Middletown. […]

Brydon, George MacLaren

(June 27, 1875-Sept. 26, 1963). Priest and church historian. He was born in Danville, Virginia. Brydon received his B.A. from Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia, in 1896, and his B.D. from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1899. He was ordained deacon on June 23, 1899, and priest on May 31, 1900. Brydon was deacon-in-charge of Randolph Parish, […]

Bucer, or Butzer, Martin

(Nov. 1, 1491-Feb. 28, 1551). Reformation leader. He was born in Schlettstadt, Alsace. Bucer came under the influence of Martin Luther, and from 1523 he worked as a reforming pastor in Strasbourg. After the death of Ulrich Zwingli in 1531, Bucer became the leader of the reformed churches in Switzerland and South Germany. He worked […]

Buck, or Bucke, Richard

(c. 1582-c. 1642). Colonial clergyman. He studied at Caius College, Cambridge. He arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, on May 23, 1610, as the second minister at James City Parish. He succeeded Robert Hunt. Buck officiated at the marriage of John Rolfe and Pocahontas on Apr. 14, 1614. He opened with prayer the first General Assembly of […]

Burgess, John Melville

(b. Mar. 11, 1909). First African American diocesan bishop. Burgess was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Michigan. In 1934 he received his B.D. from the Episcopal Theological School. Burgess was ordained deacon on July 29, 1934, and priest on Jan. 25, 1935. He served St. […]

Burial of the Dead

Funeral rite for burial of a baptized Christian, including anthems, psalms, scripture readings, and prayers. The BCP provides both traditional and contemporary liturgies (pp. 469-507). This rite may serve as the liturgy of the word at a Requiem Eucharist. When there is communion at the Burial of the Dead, the commendation and the committal follow […]

Burlington College

This school was granted a charter on Feb. 27, 1846. It was founded by Bishop George Washington Doane in Burlington, New Jersey. It was adjacent to and affiliated with St. Mary's Hall for girls, which was founded in 1837. During the 1870s the college had a Divinity Department. Burlington College closed around 1881, but it […]

Burnham, Mary Douglass

(May 13, 1832-Dec. 26, 1904). Leading deaconess and founder of the Dakota League. She was born in Quincy, Massachusetts. In 1852 she married Wesley Burnham. He spent most of his time working in the Sandwich Islands in the sugar cane industry. In 1864 she founded the Dakota League and served as its president until 1875. […]

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.