The vocabulary used in the Church can be complex! That’s because a lot of it
is historical, or comes from other languages such as Greek or Latin. This useful
glossary will help you to understand more about the roles and jobs connected
with ordination in the Church of England.
Christian and belonging to the world-wide Anglican
Church which was founded in England after the
reformation. Broadly led by the Archbishop of
Canterbury. In England means ‘of or pertaining to the
Church of England’
A bishop who leads a group of dioceses (known as a province). In England
there are two archbishops, namely Canterbury and York. Elsewhere in the world
Archbishops are sometimes known as presiding bishops.
A group of people, usually lay and ordained, who advise the archbishop.
This is the chief minister of a diocese. If he is in charge of the whole
diocese, he is called a diocesan bishop; however, in most dioceses the diocesan
bishop is assisted by one or more suffragan (area) bishops, and sometimes by
assistant bishops—often bishops who have retired into their diocese.
BISHOPS' ADVISORY PANEL
This is a residential conference during which candidates for ordained
ministry are selected. Candidates make a presentation about some aspect of
ministry; they are interviewed by the bishops’ advisers; and they take part in
various discussions. After this the selection secretary writes to the
candidate's bishop to inform him of the panel's recommendation.
That which God places on someone’s life drawing them
into a fresh step of obedience. This is hard to define,
but recognisable when it happens. In this context we are
often referring to God calling people into public
CHURCH OF ENGLAND
The Church of England is the official national Church in England. It is part
of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide group of churches in fellowship with one
another and sharing a common heritage. Anglicans make up 16% of Christians
across the world, with more than 70 million members across 161 countries on
every continent. There is great diversity within the Church of England in both
theology and styles of worship.
Ordained ministers in the Anglican church. The term is sometimes used of
ministers in other denominations too.
Nowadays, curates are usually assistant priests in a parish. They are doing
their practical training for ministry under the supervision of the priest of the
Diocesan director of ordinands: the person appointed by the bishop to take
overall responsibility for the selection, training and (sometimes) first
appointment of those called to ordination.
Derived from a Greek word meaning 'servant'. Deacon is one of the orders of
ministry, to which all clergy in the Church of England are admitted. Some people
are called to be a deacon all their lives; they are known as ‘distinctive’
deacons. Others are ordained deacon as the first stage of their ordained
ministry, and are later ordained priest—and sometimes bishop.
A large area of the country, roughly the size of a county.
In a Christian sense, this word refers both to the process and to
the gift of working out what God is saying. When people think God is
telling them to do something it is the responsibility of the leaders of the
church to work with them and discern whether God is indeed speaking.
Recently the church has realised that some of our traditional ways of doing
things are quite alien to sectors of modern society. We are trying to find new
ways of expressing our timeless faith, and we call these new ways fresh
A member of the clergy who is either the vicar or rector of a parish, and who
is the legal owner of the parish church and its contents.
Anyone who is not ordained.
The word means service, and it is applied to those who serve God, either in
one of the three orders of ministry (see ‘ordination’), or as an authorised lay
minister, or as a Christian taking seriously their discipleship in their work,
home and locality.
The Ministry Division is part of the Archbishops’ Council within the Church
of England. It is responsible for advising the House of Bishops, individual
bishops and members of diocesan staff about matters relating to vocations,
recruitment & selection; theological education & training; deployment,
remuneration & conditions of service; and supporting & encouraging the
ministries of deaf & disabled people, and those who work with them.
Someone who is training to be ordained.
The ceremony conducted by the bishop in which candidates are admitted to one
of the 'orders' of the Church's ministry. There are three such orders:
bishops, priest and deacons. This ceremony both marks the Church’s recognition
of the candidate’s call and authorises them to work in the name of the Church,
and also transmits to the candidate God’s grace to fulfil that call, through
laying-on of hands by the bishop.
The area around an Anglican church which that church serves and for which it
has particular responsibility. In England every part of the country is in a
Parochial Church Council – the committee (or council)
which has legal responsibility for much of what happens
in an Anglican church.
ORDAINED PIONEER MINISTER
Some ordained ministers feel called to ‘fresh expressions’ of church, working
in pioneering ways which are complementary to traditional parish structures.
They demonstrate visionary leadership ability and a heart for mission and
That ministry to which those are called who have particular gifts in
spotting, starting up and sustaining new possibilities for the church's mission.
Derived from a Greek word meaning 'elder'. This is one of the three orders of
ministry, to which most of the clergy belong.
Someone who has charge of a parish, and whose predecessors were once entitled
to receive the tithes and other forms of income from the parish's assets.
Nowadays, those clergy who are paid receive their ‘stipend’, or payment, from
central Church funds.
The process of discerning whether God is calling a person to be ordained
In England this is an employee of the Church of England whose job it is to
work alongside those who feel they are called to ordination and guide them
through the process. They also help the church in managing and implementing this
Someone who has charge of a parish, and whose predecessors were not entitled
to receive the tithes and other forms of income from the parish's assets, but
were paid a stipend (salary) by the person who did (such as the rector).
Nowadays, those clergy who are paid receive their ‘stipend’,
or payment, from
central Church funds.
In a Christian sense vocation refers to the unique calling that God places on
an individual's life. Vocation is often used more specifically to refer to a
life of ordained ministry.
A person appointed by a bishop to encourage church members to consider how
God is calling them to live out their Christian faith with regard to what they
do with their lives. They provide information about every form of Christian
ministry, from full-time, ordained, paid ('stipendiary') ministry to taking
seriously the Christian life in the context of their daily home or working life.