An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Chandler, Thomas Bradbury

(Apr. 26, 1726-Apr. 20, 1790). An Anglican parson in New Jersey and a Loyalist at a time when adherence to the Church of England and the British Crown were increasingly attacked in the American Colonies. Chandler was a leading advocate of an American episcopacy. He memorialized the English archbishops on behalf of an American episcopacy […]

Change Ringing

The ringing of tower bells of different tones in a precise relationship to each other in order to produce a pleasing cascade of sound. The sequence of bells is varied from “row” to “row” of bells, but the rhythm does not vary. Bells “change” places with adjacent bells in the sequence of the row to […]

Chant, Chanting

Singing liturgical prose texts to the rhythm of speech. The term is from the Latin cantus, “song.” Since ancient times, psalms and canticles, prayers, dialogue, scripture, and other liturgical texts have been sung to many types of melodic formulas. For Anglicans, the most familiar types of chant until recent times were plainchant and Anglican chant. […]


An endowment or foundation for the saying of masses and prayers for the founder. It is also the place where the endowed masses are said. This may be a chapel or a separate structure. Chantries were often educational centers. Priests appointed to chantries often conducted schools. Chantries were suppressed in the Church of England in […]


A building or structure for worship that is not a church. Chapels may be found in public institutions, such as schools and hospitals. Chapels may also be found on private property in residences or estates. A chapel may be a separate building, a room within a larger building, or an area set apart in a […]

Chapel of Ease

A chapel located at a distance from its mother church where services are held for the convenience of parishioners who live near it. Clergy leadership is usually provided by the mother church. The chapel is not an independent parochial entity with records or finances of its own. The term is therefore not correctly applied to […]


A person who serves a chapel, or exercises a nonparochial ministry. Chaplains serve in a variety of public institutions, including schools, hospitals, and prisons. Chaplains in special settings may or may not be members of the organization which they serve. Chaplains serve as military officers in the Armed Forces of the United States. Chaplains may […]


See Chaplain.


See Rosary.


A regular assembly of members of an ecclesiastical organization with responsibility for the organization's governance. For example, the meeting of those with the responsibilities of a vestry for a cathedral church, or the assembly of members of a religious house in their corporate capacity.

Chapter House

Building used for official meetings of those with responsibility for the governance of a religious house or cathedral. Separate buildings for this purpose date from the ninth century. The voting members of the religious community or the cathedral canons constituted the chapter, with corporate legal and moral responsibility for their ecclesiastical institution. The term “chapter” […]

Character (Sacramental)

The term transliterates the Greek word which literally means an impress or impression, as on a coin or a seal. It is used metaphorically in Heb 1:3 to refer to Christ as having the “exact imprint” of God's very being (hypostasis). Clement of Alexandria, developing the thought of Eph 1:13, speaks of the “shining character […]

Charismata, or Charismatic Gifts

The term is the plural form for the Greek charisma, “gift of grace.” In a Christian context, it refers to divine gifts that enable the believer to fulfill his or her vocation. These gifts may be understood as outward signs of grace received through faith. Those who receive these gifts are to be “good stewards […]


Concerning gifts of the Spirit. The term is derived from the Greek charisma, “gift.” In 1 Cor 12, St. Paul describes a variety of gifts that are given to Christians as manifestations of the Spirit for the common good and the upbuilding of the faith community. The renewal movement in the Episcopal Church has come […]

Charismatic Renewal, or Neo-Pentecostalism

These terms describe the impact of Pentecostalism in the mainline churches such as the Episcopal Church. Pentecostalism refers to churches and movements that claim to re-experience the spiritual gifts associated with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts, especially the gift of tongues. The experience is usually referred to as “Baptism in […]


Gifts bestowed on believers and their communities by the Holy Spirit, from the Greek charisma, related to charis, “grace.” They are subordinate to love (1 Cor 12:4-31) and the edification of the community (1 Pt 4:10). The gift of prophecy was notable for early Christians, along with “many wonders and signs” (Acts 2:43), including being […]

Charleston, College of, Charleston, South Carolina

This school was established by a group of Charleston citizens, including the Rev. Robert Smith, later the first Bishop of South Carolina. A charter was granted on Mar. 19, 1785, and classes began on July 3, 1785, in Smith's home. The college was officially opened in 1790, and Smith served as principal until 1797. While […]

Chase, Carlton

(Feb. 20, 1794-Jan. 18, 1870). First Bishop of New Hampshire. He was born in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, and graduated from Dartmouth in 1817. Chase was ordained deacon on Dec. 9, 1818, and priest on Sept. 27, 1820. His sole parochial charge was the rectorship of Immanuel Church, Bellows Falls, Vermont. He was consecrated Bishop of […]

Chase, Philander

(Dec. 14, 1775-Sept. 20, 1852). Presiding Bishop, missionary, and founder of educational institutions. He was born in Cornish, New Hampshire, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1796. Chase was ordained deacon on June 10, 1798, and priest on Nov. 10, 1799. He began his ministry with missionary work in northern and western New York. In […]

Chase, Salmon Portland

(Jan. 13, 1808-May 7, 1873). Episcopal lay anti-slavery leader and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He was born in Cornish, New Hampshire, and raised by his uncle, Bishop Philander Chase of Ohio. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1829. From the beginning of his career he was unalterably opposed to […]

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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.