A - Z Glossary

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A pilgrim is one who goes on a pilgrimage or journey with a religious or devotional intention. See Pilgrimage.

A journey taken with a religious or devotional intention. Pilgrimages are typically made to shrines, holy places, or locations of religious significance. They may be made as prayers of thanksgiving, penitence, intercession, or petition. Pilgrimages have been practiced in many religious traditions,... Read More »

(Oct. 31, 1739-July 24, 1825). A leading early evangelical preacher. He was born in Tadmouth, England. Pilmore was educated in John Wesley's school at Kingswood and was a Methodist lay missionary in Great Britain, 1767-1769. In 1769 he came to the American colonies. He served as a lay... Read More »

A small sink, basin, or niche that empties into the earth instead of a sewer. It is typically located in the sacristy or in the wall of the sanctuary. It may be used for the reverent disposal of consecrated wine from the eucharist, blessed water from baptism, and water used in washing vessels that... Read More »

(July 23, 1905-June 19, 1997). Leading process theologian. He was born in Bogota, New Jersey. Pittenger received his S.T.B. from the General Theological Seminary in 1936. He was ordained deacon on June 11, 1936, and priest on Feb. 24, 1937. He began teaching at General Seminary while still a... Read More »

The 1865 General Convention voted "that all that portion of the State of Pennsylvania lying west of the eastern lines of the counties of McKean, Cameron, Clearfield, Cambria, and Somerset . . . be separated from the Diocese of Pennsylvania, and formed into a new Diocese." The primary convention of... Read More »


See Pyx.

See Plainsong.

Sacred unison (monophonic) chant. Plainsong dates from the earliest centuries of Christianity. It has one melody (monodic). The plainsong melody is traditionally sung without musical accompaniment, although it is now at times accompanied by organ harmonies. Plainsong was most frequently based on... Read More »

Gregorian Chant was taken to England by Augustine in 597. Augustine's party were singing plainsong as they first approached King Ethelbert in the Isle of Thanet. The court of Ethelbert and the See of Augustine at Canterbury soon became a center for Gregorian plainsong. Charlemagne (c. 742-814... Read More »

Plainsong may have been influenced by the musical tradition of the Jewish synagogue and the Greek modal system. A musical mode provides a scale or pattern of intervals for the arrangement of tones and semitones. At the end of the fourth century, Ambrose (c. 339-397), Bishop of Milan, ordered... Read More »

There has been growing interest in plainsong since the Oxford Movement. Thomas Helmore published the first English plainsong Psalter that was widely used, The Psalter Noted (1849), followed by The Canticles Noted. These collections were published together as A Manual of Plainsong after 1850. H. B.... Read More »

After publication of the 1549 BCP, John Merbecke (or Marbeck) (c. 1510-c. 1585) set the English liturgy to plainsong in his The booke of Common praier noted (1550). He sought to create a distinctly English chant and used the new English liturgical texts as the starting point for his work. He... Read More »

This volume, edited by James Litton and published by the Church Hymnal Corporation in 1988, includes the entire Psalter of the BCP, plus the antiphons which were compiled by Howard E. Galley, Jr., and published in his The Prayer Book Office (1980). See Plainsong.

See Chasuble.

Undesignated or "loose" offering of money that is among the gifts presented at the offertory (BCP, pp. 333, 361). The term may be used to distinguish the loose offering of money from pledge payments or gifts of money designated for specific purposes. The term is associated with the practice of... Read More »

The 1889 General Convention voted to divide the Diocese of Nebraska and create the Missionary District of The Platte. This Missionary District, under several different names, existed until 1946. It was known as the Missionary District of The Platte from Oct. 23, 1889, until Oct. 13, 1898.

A commitment to give one's time, talents, and money as an expression of faith and a personal response to God's generosity. Parish members are encouraged to make an annual stewardship pledge. This pledge represents their specific Christian commitment to "work, pray, and give for the spread... Read More »

The belief that the entire Bible comes from authors whose hearts and minds were inspired by God. Their mental processes were sharpened and elevated for the task. Although all were inspired, the writers had different personalities and literary styles which are reflected in the various biblical books... Read More »

See Esse, Bene Esse, Plene Esse.

Quarterly journal of the Episcopal Society for Ministry in Higher Education (ESMHE). The journal and its title are inspired by the image of Amos and other prophets who confronted Israel as a religious community and a nation. It first appeared in Mar. 1973.

From the Greek pneuma (wind, breath, spirit) and logia (doctrine), indicating that branch of Christian theology which deals with the Holy Spirit. Three aspects of the received doctrine are especially important: 1) The recognition by the Council of Constantinople in 381 that God is one Being in... Read More »

(c. 1595-1617). Daughter of the powerful Indian chief Powhatan. While being held hostage at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1613, she was converted to Christianity and baptized as Rebecca by Alexander Whitaker. In 1614 she married John Rolfe. She may have saved the life of Captain John Smith in 1607.

George Washington's parish church. A place of worship was first established near Lewis Heights, Fort Belvoir, in the seventeenth century. Some time prior to 1730 it was relocated near the Occoquan River. This second church was about two miles southeast of the present church. In 1732 this... Read More »

A method of marking the syllables of a psalm for chanting. It is used for Anglican Chant and Plainchant. See Anglican Chant; see Plainsong.

The term is derived from the Greek word for "city." In general English usage, polity refers to the form of government in a city or nation and the body of laws which govern a political entity. In ecclesiastical use polity has come to refer also to the form of government for an organized church. In... Read More »

Episcopal polity describes a church in which the source of authority is the college of bishops, typically bishops within the historic episcopate. Presbyterian polity describes a church in which the source of authority is considered to be a synod of presbyters. In Anglican churches, bishops share... Read More »

(Apr. 10, 1806-June 14, 1864). Bishop and Confederate general. He was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1821 he matriculated at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In 1823 he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1827. He then... Read More »

Awards established in the mid-1970s by the Episcopal Communicators to acknowledge excellence and achievement in the ministry of church communications. They are named in honor of Polly Bond (1914-1979), one-time director of communications in the Diocese of Ohio. Bond was a skilled writer and a... Read More »

(d. Feb. 23, 156). Bishop and martyr. He was born in the second half of the first century and became the Bishop of Smyrna in Asia Minor (Turkey). Polycarp is listed among the "Apostolic Fathers." Writings related to him include a letter of Polycarp to the Philippians and the Martyrdom of Polycarp.... Read More »

Contrapuntal, or "many voiced," choral compositions in which the vocal lines are conceived as independent melodies that are woven together into a complex whole. This style of music is "linear" in contrast to vocal settings (including hymns) which are conceived chordally with a melody in the upper... Read More »

(b. Oct. 26, 1929). Leading traditionalist bishop. He was born in Lafayette, Louisiana. Pope received his B.A. from Centenary College in 1950, and his B.D. from the University of the South in 1954. He was ordained deacon on June 29, 1954, and priest on May 9, 1955. Pope began his ordained ministry... Read More »

See Minor Orders.

(Jan. 10, 1923-June 5, 1999). Priest, liturgical scholar, professor, editor, and missioner. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1947 and his S.T.B. from the Berkeley Divinity School in 1950. From 1950 until 1952 Porter was a fellow/tutor at the General... Read More »

A paper issued by the House of Bishops which expresses the position of the House on any given subject or issue. The House of Bishops may require the dissemination of a position paper on the same basis as a pastoral letter.

A relativistic movement that denies the existence of absolute meaning and the possibility of objective knowledge of reality. It contradicts the attempt of the Enlightenment to reach absolute truth through pure human reason. Post-modernism denies the possibility of objective theological truth. Faith... Read More »