Some of these words have other definitions, but I have included the ones that seem most applicable to this site, General Convention, and the Episcopal Church. I will add more as they seem appropriate.

815: The nickname for the head offices of The Episcopal Church, often used to represent the Presiding Bishop and her staff. It comes from the building address: 815 Second Avenue in New York City.

Anglican: of, relating to, or denoting the Church of England or any church in communion with it.

Blue Book: The report from committees, commissions, agencies, and boards of General Convention, to General Convention. It contains all the “A Resolutions” and is sent out to all deputies and bishops prior to General Convention. The Blue Book is several hundred pages, and is thankfully no longer sent out as a physical book.

Canons: The laws of the church. They are broken up into five sections know as Titles, covering Admin, Worship, Ministry, Disciple, and General Provisions. Changes to the canons require a Vote By Orders (see below), and must be passed at two General Conventions.

CCABs: Committees, Commissions, Agencies, and Boards. These are typically groups working in between convention who present reports to the General Convention. Some are standing committees that always exist, others are created to serve a specific purpose and dissolved once their work is done.

Communion: 1) the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are shared 2) a relationship of recognition and acceptance between Christian churches or denominations (signified by a willingness to give or receive the Eucharist)

Deacon: “an ordained minister of an order ranking below that of a priest.” In the early church: an appointed minister of charity

Deputation: At General Convention, a diocese’s deputation is made up of eight individuals, four lay and four clergy.

Deputy: a person who is empowered to act as a substitute for her or his superior (in the case of General Convention, the superior is the people of the deputy’s diocese)

Episcopal: of a bishop or bishops

Eucharist: the Christian ceremony commemorating the Last Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed

House of Initial Action: the house a particular piece of legislation will start in (either the House of Deputies or the House of Bishops)

Lay Person: anyone who is not a member of the clergy.

Liturgy: a set of formulas according to which public worship is conducted

Millennium Development Goals: A set of eight goals designed to end world poverty. The idea was that if all of the world’s developed countries donated 0.7% of their Gross National Income to the accomplishment of these goals, we would end extreme poverty in the world by 2015. Poverty still exists, and so do the goals:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a Global Partnership for development

Resolution: a formal expression of opinion or intention agreed on by a legislative body

Rite: a religious ceremony or act

TREC: Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church. This special task force was created by an act of the 2012 General Convention in response to a universal desire to examine church structure.

Vote by Orders: Rather than a simple majority or a two thirds majority, a vote by orders counts only two votes from each diocese, one from the lay order and one from the clergy order. Ties count as nay votes. This means that with four clergy, if three or four of them vote yes, the clergy vote from that diocese is a yes. If two, three, or four vote no, the clergy vote from that diocese is a no. A Vote by Orders is usually called in order to make it more difficult to pass a resolution. A request signed by a majority of three orders is required to call for a Vote by Orders (for example, three out of the four lay people from three different dioceses, or the entire Olympia deputation and three of the clergy from Ecuador Central).


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