As we seek to encourage diversity, inclusivity and expand our demographic range with and for those new to or not familiar with the Anglican church, following are definitions of some terms:

Archbishop: the chief bishop responsible for an ecclesiastical province – in our cases: 1)  the metropolitan (see below) of the Ecclesiatical Province of BC and Yukon - click here; and 2)  the primate (see below) of the Anglican Church of Canada - click here.

Archdeacon: a senior priest to whom a bishop delegates certain regional responsibilities - in our case The Venerable Dr Lon Towstego, the archdeacon for Western, Peninsuala and the Gulf Islands region within the Diocese of BC.  Archdeacons are installed/collated by the bishop with oversight responsibility for a territory or region.  Territorial archdeacons shall be assigned to one or more regions (which may then be called an archdeaconry).  The Executive Archdeacon, currently The Venerable Eric Partridge, is situated in the Synod office and has responsibilities throughout the Diocese.  The duties of an archdeacon are listed in the Canons Regulation 1.7.01.

Bishop: the ordained member of the Anglican Church of Canada in a position of authority and oversight of a diocese.  The Right Rev Anna Greenwood-Lee is the current bishop of the Anglican Diocese of BC.

Book of Alternative Services (BAS): is the contemporary, inclusive-language liturgical prayer book published in 1985 and used in most parishes of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Book of Common Prayer (BCP): is the traditional prayer book originally published in 1549 following the English Reformation and revised numerous times, most latterly in Canada in 1962 and which is used, with local variations, in many Anglican churches throughout the world.

Canon: an honorary title granted to a senior priest or an outstanding lay person. To be named a canon is an honour bestowed by the bishop to recognize exemplary service to the wider church. See also “Canons”.

Canons – as in Constitution, Canons and Regulations: the legal and procedural framework for the diocese, regularly reviewed and amended by the Synod of BC and which can be downloaded from the Anglican Diocese of BC website here.

Chancellor: of the diocese is a lawyer - a member of the bar of the Province of BC - appointed by and to advise the bishop.

Churchwarden (or just warden):  Senior lay (not ordained) officers of a congregation numbering between 2 to 4. In some parishes, one warden is elected by the congregation and is called the "people’s warden"; the other is appointed by the incumbent and is sometimes called the "rector’s or incumbent’s warden". In other parishes, the members of the congregation elect all wardens, and in others there may be 1 or 2 co-wardens in each position totaling 4.  The churchwardens together with the incumbent function as the Executive of the Parish responsible for administering and managing the business affairs of the congregation.  “The duties of the churchwardens whether chosen by the incumbent or the parishioners, shall be the same” and are as specified Regulation 6.8.01 of the Canons, and the "Churchwardens' Manual" found here.

Deacon: is a person ordained to servant ministry in the Anglican Church also having special liturgical roles. Transitional Deacons are clergy in the process of becoming Priests.

Dean: is appointed by the bishop, usually the incumbent of the cathedral, and is the senior cleric of the diocese, regardless of years of service.

Diocese: a district under the pastoral care of a bishop – in our case the Anglican Diocese of BC – Islands and Inlets.

Diocesan Council:  carries on the work of Synod between its biennial (every 2 years) sessions and meets a minimum of five times per year.  The diocesan council is composed of regionally elected and ex-officio members, plus diocesan executive staff who are non-voting, as is outlined in the Canons and Regulations – ref. Canon 3.

Ecclesiastical Province: of British Columbia and Yukon - click here - is one of four Ecclesiastical Provinces in the Anglican Church of Canada, the other three being the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Rupert's Land, Ontario, and Canada.

Eucharist: the principal service of worship, which re-enacts the Lord's Supper - the last meal, a Jewish Passover – that Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion. From the Latin and Greek words meaning “thanksgiving” it is also called Communion or Holy Communion as we share in it together in worship with God and each other.

Incumbent: a Priest to whom the bishop has designated the care of a parish – the preferred term of the Anglican Church in Canada.  Incumbents are appointed by the bishop on the recommendation of a parish selection committee.  See also “Rector”, “Priest”, “Pastor” and “Minister”.

Lay employee:  of the parish is a lay person appointed by the Incumbent and churchwardens, the position and terms of employment with the diocese having been authorized by the parish council.

Lay person: (pl. Laity) is a member of the church who is not ordained (as bishop, priest or deacon, etc.).

Lectern: A stand which holds the bible and from which the lessons of the day are read. Sometimes it is in the shape of an eagle, which is the symbol used to depict John the Apostle.

Lectionary:   a table of psalms and readings which typically focuses on four readings from Holy Scripture. Each Sunday there is a Scripture reading the Old Testament, a psalm, an epistle lesson and a gospel lesson. The Book of Common Prayer is arranged into a three year “lectionary cycle”.  Online lectionary readings can be found here.

Metropolitan: an archbishop having authority over the bishops of a province - click here - in our case The Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and Yukon - one of four Ecclesiastical Provinces of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Minister:  see also “Incumbent”.

Narthex: is the first area – i.e. the lobby – that you see when entering a church.

Nave: is the main central space of the church building where pews or chairs are located and on which the congregation sits during worship services. 

Parish:  is an organized congregation or group of congregations within the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia.  In our case we are the congregation of the Anglican Parish of Salt Spring Island.

Parish Council: is the Advisory Committee of a parish.  “The duty of the parish council shall be to assist and support the Incumbent and the churchwardens in the general business and the programs of the parish” - Canon 6.9.i.  Guidelines for the Parish Council can be downloaded here.

Pastor: see also “Incumbent”.

Paten: the plate on which the bread rests during Holy Communion.

Postulant: a person admitted by the bishop into the formal preparation for the ordained ministry.

Priest:  a person ordained by a bishop to be a servant of the church through word and sacrament, to serve as a pastor, to lead, to care for and to equip God’s people.  A priest serves as an example of the "priesthood of all believers" to enable God’s call and mission to the world, and the cares of the world to God.  See also “Incumbent”.

Primate: of the Anglican Church of Canada elected by the General Synod of the Church.  Our primate is presently Archbishop Linda Nicholls.

Rector: the traditional designation of a priest to whom the bishop has designated the care of a parish. Rector has the same meaning as Incumbent, the preferred term in the Anglican Church in Canada.

Region:  is a group of parishes within the diocese linked together for the purposes of administration and mutual assistance save where the context directs otherwise as in the case of Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria BC.

Sacrament:  an outward sign of an inward grace, that has been instituted by Jesus Christ. Sacraments signify God's grace in a way that is outwardly observable to the participant - notably baptism and the eucharist.

Sacristy: a room in a church where a priest prepares for a service, and where vestments and other things used in worship are kept.

Sanctuary: is the part of a church building where the main altar is located.

Social Justice:  Social justice refers to a fair and equitable division of resources, opportunities, and privileges in society. Christians emphasize the intrinsic value or worth of the individual person. Gender inequality, racism, and LGBTQ+ discrimination, and more recently, the inequities created by the climate crisis, are frequent subjects of social justice advocacy.

Synod: on our case of the Anglican Diocese of BC incorporated under The Synod Incorporation Act (1889) of the legislature of the Province of BC.  The Synod consists of the bishop, clergy, and others including lay and youth delegates elected by parishes according to the provisions of the Constitution, Canons and Regulations; and normally meets at least once every two years (biennially) upon summons from the bishop.

Vestibule:  is usually a spacious area which holds church information such as literature, pamphlets, and bulletin announcements.

Vestments:  the distinctive clothing reserved for use in liturgy, worn by the clergy and those serving at the altar. Variations in style and colour denote the office and preferences of the wearer and the church season or festival being celebrated.

•    the room where clergy put on their vestments (see vestments above).
•    the decision-making body of parishioners that meets at least annually and if necessary and on special occasions as required – constituted for the transaction of parish business in accordance with the Canons.

Warden:  see “Churchwarden”.