Dictionary

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Anglican

Anglicans form the family of Christians closely related to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Whilst tracing their inheritance back to Christ and the earliest Christians and to the ancient Roman Catholic church, the sixteenth century Reformation was a crucial moment for Anglicanism.

Banns

Banns of marriage involve the public declaration (normally in the parish church) that two people intend to be married. The announcement invites any who know of any impediment to the marriage to make it known.

Baptism

Baptism involves declaring faith in God and being washed with water. It means being cleansed from sin, being united to Jesus Christ, receiving his Holy Spirit and becoming God’s children. Sometimes called ‘Christening’.

Bishop

‘Bishop’ comes from the Greek word for ‘overseer’. So a bishop is a senior Christian minister authorised to have oversight for God’s people. As well as duties given to deacons and priests, bishops confirm and ordain.

Confirmation

Confirmation is about ‘confirming’ the faith in God we declared at baptism. It also involves being strengthened by God’s Holy Spirit. In the Church in Wales it is administered by the bishop.

Deacon

‘Deacon’ comes the Greek word for ‘servant’. Deacons in the Church in Wales have special roles within worship such as proclaiming the gospel. Traditionally, deacons have had responsibility for social care. Deacons often go on to be ordained priest.

Diocese

‘Diocese’ refers to the geographical territory in which a bishop exercises oversight. The Church in Wales is divided into six dioceses each with its own cathedral in which is housed the cathedra (the bishop’s ‘chair’ or ‘throne’).

Ecumenical

The Christian Church is divided due to different interpretations of the faith and different religious practices. The ecumenical movement promotes dialogue and understanding between Christians and works for visible unity.

Episcopal

‘Episcopal’ refers to the role or ministry of a bishop. So an episcopal church is one in which oversight is entrusted to a bishop. Like many others, the Church in Wales is an episcopal church.

Eucharist

‘Eucharist’ comes from the Greek word for ‘thanksgiving’. At the Eucharist the Church remembers Jesus’ last supper where he gave bread and wine to be his body and blood, a sign of his saving love. See also Holy Communion.

Holy Communion

At Holy Communion blessed bread and wine is shared, by which we receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The congregation gives thanks for Jesus’ life, his death and resurrection and his continuing presence. See also Eucharist.

Liturgy

Liturgy is a set form of words and action used for worship. In the Church in Wales (and many other churches) these forms follow the same pattern from one congregation to another. Most Anglican liturgies look back in some way to the Book of Common Prayer.

Ordain

To be ordained is to be set apart, empowered by the Holy Spirit and authorised by the Church for a particular type of ministry. The Church in Wales has three ‘orders’ of ministry, namely deacon, priest and bishop.

Prayer

Prayer sustains our human relationship with God and may involve words (formal or informal) or be silent. Prayer can involve adoration (‘I love you’), confession (‘sorry’), thanksgiving and supplication (‘please’).

Priest

‘Priest’ comes from the Greek word for ‘elder’. Priests in the Church in Wales are those authorised specifically to proclaim forgiveness of sins, preside at the Eucharist and bless God’s people, as well as other responsibilities.

Theological

‘Theology’ means literally ‘words about God’. Christian theology involves our trying to understand and explain what God has revealed about himself through Scripture. This work is aided by the writings of past and present theologians and human reason.

Home For clergy and members The Constitution Volume II: Section 1.1 – Canons of the Church in Wales – Part 1