What We Say
For those of you who may be new to the Christian faith, or to the Episcopal Church, or even to our church, here is a crash course of some terms and phrases you may encounter at St. Luke’s.
People & Positions
- Acolyte: This is a person who typically lights the altar candles and assists during the Offertory and Eucharist. Acolytes are often young people, from the sixth grade on up, but can be adults.
- Bishop: A bishop is a clergy person, so ordained through a succession of bishops, all the way back to the Apostles, through the laying on of hands. The bishop is the supervisor of all the priests within his diocese. The Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina is The Rt. Reverend Mark Lawrence.
- Clergy: This word simply refers to people who are ordained ministers (deacons, priests, bishops, etc.)
- Crucifer: This is the person who typically carries the cross into the church during the processional hymn, for the Gospel procession, and out of the church at the end of the service.
- Deacon: This is the first stage of ordained ministry. Deacons assist priests and bishops in the administration of sacraments. Some deacons go on to be ordained as priests, while others remain deacons indefinitely.
- Disciple: A disciple is a student, a follower; a Christian disciple is a student and follower of Jesus.
- Lay, laity: The laity are people who are not ordained ministers. Lay ministers are non-ordained people who serve God and His Church.
- Minister, ministry: Ministry is the act of serving God and His Church. The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.
- Priests: These people are ordained ministers who serve the church through various forms of leadership as the Senior Pastor or Associate Pastors.
- Rector: The Rector serves as the senior pastor of the parish. The associate rectors….
- Vestry: The Vestry is the governing body of a parish. Its members are elected from the congregation by the members of the parish at an annual congregational meeting, for a term of three years. Its officers are the Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Secretary and Treasurer.
- Primate: These people are the leaders of the individual autonomous Anglican churches. There are 34 in the world. For example, the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in the United States is one of the Primates.
- Archbishop of Canterbury: The convener of all Bishops, including Primates, throughout the world. He invites them to Lambeth, England periodically for a conference and has no other authority over the worldwide Anglican Communion.
- Senior Warden (Rector’s Warden): The lay leader and member of the Vestry. This person assists the Rector in leadership of the Vestry.
- Junior Warden (People’s Warden): A lay leader who is responsible for the building and grounds.
- Baptism: This is a sacramental rite by which God adopts us as His children and makes us members of Christ’s Body (the Church) and inheritors of theKingdom of God.
- Eucharist: This is the Greek word for “thanksgiving”. In our Christian worship, the Eucharist (or Holy Communion, or Lord’s Supper) is a sacramental rite commanded by Jesus for the continual remembrance of His life, death and resurrection, until His coming again. Following Jesus’ example in the upper room on the night before his death on the Cross, this rite uses bread and wine as symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. He sacrificed himself on the cross so that we might be forgiven our sins and live a new life.
- Holy Communion: This is a common term referring to the Eucharist.
- Intercession, intercessory: Intercession means “on behalf of another”. Intercessory prayer, then, lifts up someone else in prayer.
- Parish: The people, whether members or non-members, who associate with the local church (St. Luke’s), whether actively attending worship services or not. Usually, the parish is limited to those who live in the geographical area surrounding the church.
- Parishioner: A person, whether a member or non-member, who considers a particular local church (St. Luke’s) his or her home church, whether actively attending worship services or not.
- Sacrament: A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. The two great sacraments given by Christ are Baptism and Holy Eucharist. Other sacraments include Confirmation, Ordination, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation of a Penitent, and Unction. The outward and visible sign in Baptism, for example, is water; the inward and spiritual grace in Baptism is union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God's family, and new life in the Holy Spirit.
- Confirmation: This is a sacramental rite in which a person who was baptized as an infant expresses a mature commitment to Christ and receives strength from the Holy Spirit.
- Liturgy: This word means “the work of the people”, and it refers to the format of our worship in the Episcopal Church, where the congregation is involved in the responses, the prayers, and the singing.
- Pledge: Every year, people are given an opportunity to inform the church of the monthly financial support they intend to contribute to the church in the coming year. This is called a “pledge”.
- Anglican: This word means “English”. The Anglican Church is the church thatElizabeth I started in England, which served as the basis for The Episcopal Church in the United States of America after the Declaration of Independence was signed. St. Luke's belongs to the Anglican Communion, which means that we are in communion or agreement with other Anglican churches all around the world.
- Book of Common Prayer: This book, also called the BCP or prayer book, located in the pews of most Anglican churches, contains the order of service for Holy Eucharist, Morning and Evening Prayer and various other rites and services used from time to time in worship. In more traditional services, the congregation follows along in the prayer book, whereas, in more contemporary services, the physical book may not be used, but some of the responsive readings and prayers from the BCP are contained in the bulletin or projected onto a screen.
- Diocese: A diocese (prounounced die'-uh-sis) is the basic unit of the Anglican Church and is made up of churches in the same geographical area. Most states have more than one diocese.
Parts of the Building
- Altar: The large piece of furniture that is the centerpiece of the sanctuary. It holds two candles representing the dual nature of Christ, and the communion elements.
- Altar Rail: The low railing the surrounds the altar and at which people kneel to receive the communion elements.
- Columbarium: The small patio area between the sanctuary and parish hall.
- Kneeler: The low bench beneath each pew. This provides a soft surface for kneeling during parts of the worship service.
- Ministry Center: The building across the parking lot where you will find offices of church staff members, and the youth room.
- Parish Hall: The large room in the education wing where fellowship and educational activities are held.
- Prayer Room: Located across from the Vestibule, just outside the east transept.
- Sacristy: The room where the communion elements are prepared and where the clergy prepare for the worship service.
Things in Worship
- Chalice: This is the cup from which we drink the wine at Communion.
- Collect: Pronounced “koll’-ect” with the emphasis on the first syllable. It is a prayer made by the people or on behalf of them.
- Doxology: This word is derived from the Greek word, “doxa”, meaning “glory”. The Doxology is a short song used during our liturgy that helps us sing of God’s glory.
- Offertory: This is the part of the worship service where we make an offering of ourselves, our lives and labors, for the purposes of God.
- Sanctus: This word means “holy”. The Sanctus is a short song used during our liturgy that helps us sing of God’s holiness.
- Terms of Address
- Formal: There are formal terms of address, such as The Reverend So-and-So for a priest; The Very Reverend So-and-So for a priest who is also a dean; The Right Reverend So-and-So for a bishop. One would use those formal terms on an envelope or in a formal letter.
- Informal: At St. Luke’s, our Rector and other clergy members are commonly addressed by their first names. Some people refer to them as "Reverend so-and-so” or “Pastor so-and-so”.
- Vestments: Vestments are the ceremonial clothing worn by clergy and by lay ministers.