Acolyte, an altar attendant in worship

Bishop, the head priest and pastor for a diocese.

Celebrant, the presiding priest or bishop at the Holy Eucharist.

Chalice Bearer, a person trained to serve the chalice of wine at communion.

Curate, a priest on his/her first assignment after ordination.

Deacon, an ordained minister charged specifically with a servant role.

Lay Eucharistic Minister (LEM),  a lay person who assists the priest in administering the sacraments of holy communion, the concentrated bread and wine. They may also take the sacraments to those who are ill and home bound.

Lector, a person trained to read scripture lessons in worship.

Oblationer, a person who presents the gifts of unblessed bread and wine to the altar party during the Offertory.

Rector, the head priest and pastor for a parish church.

Thurifer, a person who carries incense in procession.

Verger, a person charged with organizing and guiding worship services.

Vestry, an elected lay governing board.

Vicar, a priest with special responsibilities to represent the bishop and/or rector, both in pastoral duties and administrative duties.

Warden, a lay-leader in the parish.


Alb, a narrow-sleeved, full-length white vestment that became in the early church the basic liturgical garment. It has been in wide liturgical use by Anglicans since the nineteenth century.

Acolyte,  lay volunteers who follow the Cross in the procession and recession and assist the priest in worship. An acolyte lights and sometimes carries candles, and helps in the preparation of communion.

Alms Basin, plates passed to the people to gather monetary offerings for the church.

Altar,  a table, usually in the sanctuary, on which the bread and wine used in the communion service are consecrated.

Altar Guild, a special lay service group in a church who prepare the altar and maintain the furnishings in a church building.

Anglican Communion, the worldwide body of church relating to the Church of England (The Episcopal Church The Anglican Church of Canada, the Scottish Episcopal Church, The Church of Ireland, the Anglican Church of Australia, The Holy Catholic Church in Japan, and many others.)

Anthem, a piece of worship music usually sung by the choir.

Aumbry, a recess in or a cupboard on the liturgically east wall of the sanctuary near the altar with a door or other covering, used to store the reserved sacrament and sometimes the chrism, according to the practice of the parish.  A light burns near it to indicate it contains the Sacrament.

Blessing, a declaration of Gods’ favor, given by the bishop or priest.

Canon, in the Church we speak of canon law, the canon of Scripture, and people called canons. The canon of Scripture refers to the books of the Bible that are accepted as genuine and inspired by God. When used in reference to people, a canon is the title of a priest who either serves on the staff of a cathedral, or who has exhibited exemplary service to a diocese.

Canon Law,  the collection of laws that serve as the rules of our Anglican Church. The canons may be (and always are) modified by each General Convention. Each diocese also has canon law, but a diocese may not pass a canon that conflicts with national canons.

Celebrant, the person who leads the worship service. In a Eucharist, the celebrant is the bishop, or someone who the bishop appoints to lead the service for him or her. In a service of Morning Prayer, the celebrant may be either lay or clergy.

Chalice, the cup used at the Eucharist.

Chalice-bearer, the person (ordained or lay) who administers the chalice during Communion.

Chancel, is the name for the section of a church building between the nave and the sanctuary; usually the place the choir sits; sometimes also called the “choir”. It is also usually a few steps higher than the nave.

Chasuble, a liturgical vestment originally derived from the outdoor cloak worn by men and women in Roman society. Now, it is sometimes worn by the Celebrant of the Eucharist.

Chrism,  consecrated oil  used to anoint people in baptism or, as unction, to anoint people for whom healing prayers are offered.

Colors, color plays an import part in the designation of seasons and feasts in the Anglican Church. Each church season has a color associated with it. Advent is purple (the color of preparation and penitence) or Marian Blue (in honor of Mary), Christmas is white (the color celebration), Epiphany is green (the color of growth; growth of the gospel message from Jew to Gentile – re: the three Wise Men), Lent is purple, Easter is white, and the season after Pentecost is green (for the growth of the church). Weddings and funerals are usually occasions for white (the color of celebration) while Pentecost Sunday and ordinations are red, to signify the presence of the Holy Spirit. Black is occasionally used one day a year — Good Friday.

Communion, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, referred to as “Holy Eucharist.”  Also refers to receiving the blessed bread and wine.

Compline, a monastic evening service used to end the day, and included for the first time in the 1979 prayer book. It is pronounced “comp-lyn,” not “comp-line.”

Collect, the word is normally used to refer to the prayer near the beginning of the Eucharist that precedes the lessons. The collect was supposedly designed to “collect” the thoughts of the lessons and bind the thoughts together.

Consecration, the central prayer of the Holy Eucharist.  Also the point at which the bread and wine become the spiritual body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Cope, a decorated liturgical cape used especially in processions and on solemn occasions.

Cotta, a cotta is a short, white outer garment often worn by choir members and acolytes to cover their cassocks.

Corporal, a square piece of linen laid on top of the altar cloth at Communion.

Credence Table, a small table or shelf on the epistle side of the altar that holds the bread, wine and water before consecration.

Crosier, the bishop’s staff (a shepherd’s crook) carried in a procession and held when giving the absolution or blessing.

Crossing, in church architecture, the crossing is the main intersection of aisles at the front of the church building. If viewed from above, these aisles form a large cross. In a service, “crossing” refers to a hand gesture of making a cross pattern on one’s body; also a gesture made by a priest or bishop over a congregation or upon a person at death or baptism.

Cursillo, Cursillo is contemporary, popular movement of Christian renewal in the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church. The Cursillo experience begins with an intense, profound, and often life-changing weekend retreat, and continues with periodic small group gatherings and special devotions. The word is pronounced “cur-see-yo”.

Crucifer, a person in a religious procession who carries a large cross (a processional cross), and leads the procession into the church and the recession out of the church.

Crucifix, is a cross bearing the likeness of the body of Christ on it.

Cruet, a vessel (glass or metal) used to hold the water and wine for the Eucharist.

Dismissal, the last words of the Holy Eucharist service.

Diocese, the Bishop’s jurisdiction.

Elements, the bread and wine of Holy Communion.

Episcopal Church, the American branch of the Anglican Communion.

Fair Linen, a white linen cloth cover for the altar, used during Eucharist.

Font, a basin for water to be used in church baptisms.

Fraction Anthem, worship music sung by the choir and/or people at the point of the breaking of the bread in the Holy Eucharist.  Sometimes the Angus Dei (“Lamb of God”) is used for the Fraction Anthem.

Healing, one of the seven sacramental rites.  May include anointing with holy oil and a prayer for healing.

Holy Baptism, the rite of full acceptance, by water and the Holy Spirit, into the Church.

Holy Eucharist, literally means “thanksgiving,” the name of the main service of the Episcopal Church.  Sometimes refers to receiving the bread and wine.  It may also be referred to as “Mass.”

Incense, the fragrant smoke sometimes used in worship, symbolic of prayer.

Lectern, a stand with a book rest for the public reading of the Scriptures.

Lectionary, the schedule of Bible reading to be used on specific days throughout the church year.

Liturgy, a ceremonial form prescribed for public worship.

Lent, a season of penitence, the forty days before Easter Day.

Narthex,  an enclosed space at the entry end of the nave of a building; the area in the church building inside the doors and in front of the nave. The narthex is usually enclosed (primarily to provide a buffer between the outside weather and the heating/cooling inside), and is the area where the procession gathers prior to the service.

Nave, the main body of the church. It provides the central approach to the high altar.

Offertory, in Holy Eucharist, the point in the service where the gifts of bread, wine and money are presented to God at the altar.

Procession, the movement of those persons who take leadership roles in worship.

Sacraments, the Episcopal Church has seven:  Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Ordination, Marriage, Reconciliation of a Penitent, and Unction.

Sanctus, mean “holy,” worship music sung during the consecration ofo the Holy Eucharist.

Sequence, a hymn of anthem sung before the reading of the Gospel in Holy Eucharist.

Sexton, a custodian or the parish’s buildings and grounds.

Song of Praise, a worship music sung near the beginning of th Holy Eucharist service, usually the Gloria in Excelsis, the Kyrie Elison, or the Trisagion.

Sursum Corda, means “Lift up your hearts,” worship music sung or said at the beginning of the Holy Eucharist.

Thurible, a vessel used for burning incense in worship service.

Vestments, garments work by those leading a worship service.

Voluntary, any piece of instrumental music in a worship service.

Diocese_of_Georgia coat of arms