An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

De Veaux College

Judge Samuel De Veaux (De Voe) (1789-1852) left a bequest of all his residuary estate for the foundation of “a benevolent institution under the supervision of the Convention” of the Diocese of Western New York. Under the provisions of this will De Veaux College was founded in Niagara Falls, New York. It was incorporated on […]


Deacons are members of one of three distinct orders of ordained ministry (with bishops and presbyters). In the Episcopal Church a deacon exercises “a special ministry of servanthood” directly under the deacon's bishop, serving all people and especially those in need (BCP, p. 543). This definition reflects the practice of the early church, in which […]

Deacon’s Mass

” A communion service led by a deacon. After the liturgy of the word, the deacon administers communion to a congregation from the reserved sacrament. The service became popular in the Episcopal Church in the 1950s and 1960s. Because the 1928 BCP did not provide for this service, many deacons made up their own liturgies. […]


Following the example of German Lutherans in the early nineteenth century, and later of English Anglicans, during 1885-1970 almost five hundred Episcopal women were “set apart” as deaconesses to care for “the sick, the afflicted, and the poor.” The 1889 General Convention passed a canon on deaconesses that recognized their ministry. This canon reflected the […]

Dean (Cathedral, Seminary, College, Deanery)

At a cathedral, the dean is the member of the clergy in charge, although the cathedral is the official headquarters of the bishop. Assisting clergy at a cathedral have the title "Canon." At a seminary, the dean's function is like that of the president of a college or university. The dean is responsible for spiritual, […]


1) Geographical section or area within a diocese. A dean presides at meetings of the lay representatives and clergy of the deanery. 2) House where a dean lives. See Dean (Cathedral, Seminary, College, Deanery).

Dearmer, Percy

(Feb. 27, 1867-May 29, 1936). Liturgical scholar and hymn composer. He was born in London, England. Dearmer was educated at Westminster and at Christ Church, Oxford. He was one of the early members of the Christian Social Union, which was established in 1889. After he was ordained deacon and priest, he began a systematic and […]

Decade of Evangelism

The decade of the 1990s was declared the Decade of Evangelism by resolution of the Lambeth Conference of 1988. It called the provinces and dioceses of the Anglican Communion, in cooperation with other Christians, to make this a time of “renewed emphasis on making Christ known to the people of his world.” A. Wayne Schwab, […]


See Ten Commandments, The.


The term is derived from Latin, meaning “place of the dean.” Traditionally, the dean sat on the south side of the cathedral. In antiphonal singing, the term decani indicated those who sit on the decanal or dean's side of the choir of a church or cathedral. The opposite side is known as “cantoris.” The terms […]

Declaration of Consent

Statement of belief in the scriptures and conformity to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church by an ordinand in the ordination service. The Declaration of Consent is stated by the ordinand and then a written version of the Declaration of Consent is signed by the ordinand in the sight of all present. […]

Dedication and Consecration of a Church, The

The BCP provides a form for the Dedication and Consecration of a Church (pp. 567-574). The bishop presides at this service. The church may be consecrated at any time after it is ready for regular use as a place of worship. The building does not have to be debt-free or owned (see BCP, p. 575). […]

Dehon, Theodore

(Dec. 8, 1776-Aug. 6, 1817). High church bishop. He was born in Boston. He graduated from Harvard College in 1795 and received his theological education from Samuel Parker, later Bishop of Massachusetts. He was ordained to the diaconate on Dec. 24, 1797, and to the priesthood on Oct. 9, 1800. Dehon served as rector of […]


See Apotheosis; see Theosis.


A teaching about God which appeared in both Christian and non-Christian forms during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in England and France, under the influence of rationalism and the rise of natural science. Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1580-1630) introduced deist thought to England. It was developed by Matthew Tindal (1653-1733) and John Toland (1670-1722), among […]

DeKoven Center, The, Racine, Wisconsin

Located on the campus of the former Racine College (1852-1933), it was named for the Rev. James DeKoven, warden of Racine College, 1859-1879. The DeKoven Center is a complex that includes the Collegiate Chapel of St. John; the shrine of James DeKoven; gardens and a nature trail; a gym and pool; and Taylor Hall. The […]

DeKoven, James

(Sept. 19, 1831-Mar. 19, 1879). DeKoven was born in Middletown, Connecticut. He graduated from Columbia College in 1851 and as valedictorian at the General Theological Seminary in 1854. DeKoven was ordained deacon on Aug. 6, 1854, and priest on Sept. 23, 1855. In 1854 he became professor of ecclesiastical history at Nashotah House and rector […]

DeLancey Divinity School

William Heathcote DeLancey (1797-1865), the first Bishop of Western New York, opened a diocesan school of divinity at Geneva, New York, in 1850. The Rev. Dr. William Dexter Wilson (1816-1900) was in charge of it. It operated until 1858. On Feb. 1, 1861, DeLancey opened the Diocesan Training School at Geneva, under the direction of […]

Delaney Sisters. Annie Elizabeth

(Bessie) (1891-1995), and Sarah Louise (Sadie) Delaney (1889-1999), were the daughters of Henry Beard Delaney and Nancy Logan Delaney. Henry Delaney was a Suffragan Bishop of North Carolina and the second African American bishop in the Episcopal Church. Annie and Sarah and their siblings were raised on the campus of St. Augustine's College, Raleigh, North […]

Delaney, Henry Beard

(Feb. 5, 1858-Apr. 14, 1928). Second African American bishop in the Episcopal Church. He was born a slave in St. Mary's, Georgia. Delaney was raised in Fernandina, Florida. He was a grown man when he entered St. Augustine's College at Raleigh, North Carolina, from which he graduated in 1885. Upon graduation he became a teacher […]

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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.