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Dictionary for Episcopalians [Paperback]

By John N. Wall (Author)
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Item description for Dictionary for Episcopalians by John N. Wall...

This illustrated dictionary for the Episcopal Church is an essential reference to its terminology, worship, structure, and polity. Originally intended as a resource for new members and confirmands in the Episcopal Church, since it was first published in 1985 the dictionary has become increasingly popular with clergy, vestries, and other lay ministers and leaders. This entirely new edition has been expanded, revised, and updated to include new terms that have come into use since it was first published, as the language Episcopalians use to describe their faith, worship, and common life continues to evolve. A Dictionary for Episcopalians is an ideal reference book for new members, seminarians, clergy, confirmation and inquirers classes, altar guilds, church school teachers, and anyone who wants to learn more about the Episcopal Church. With illustrations and a pronunciation guide, it is a useful addition to every parish library and sacristy."

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Cowley Publications
Pages   141
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 6.9" Height: 0.4"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2001
Publisher   Cowley Publications
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  1561011789  
ISBN13  9781561011780  

Availability  0 units.

More About John N. Wall

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! JOHN H. WALL is Professor of English at North Carolina State University and priest associate at St. Mark s Episcopal Church in Raleigh, North Carolina PHILIPPA J. ANDERSON is an art and art history teacher at The Walker School in Marietta, Georgia."

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Anglican
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Episcopalian > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Protestant Denominations

Reviews - What do customers think about Dictionary for Episcopalians?

Superb resource for new and lifelong Episcopalians  Aug 17, 2006
John Wall's revised, expanded and updated Dictionary for Episcopalians is the perfect reference for parishioners new and old, a guide for clergy and a must for members of the Vestry. The new and larger format is appealing and Philippa Anderson's illustrations continue to enhance the text. Lloyd Childers, Senior Warden, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Hampstead, NC.
Can you say e-pis'-co-pa'-li-an?  May 30, 2004
This is a very handy guide, not just for Episcopalians, but for members of any liturgical church, for the Episcopal church does not have a monopoly on many of the things defined herein, but rather shares these with the larger body of Christendom. Granted, there are many things uniquely Episcopalian, but the appeal of this book should not be limited to that audience.

John Wall, the author, and Philippa Goodwin, illustrator, have put together a very handy guide for learning what's what in the church. The vestments worn by bishops, priests, deacons, and other ministers in the liturgy are very specific and almost everything worn has an historical background. Many terms are derived from the Latin, owing to the shared history with the Western Catholic church. Despite the general Anglicanisation of the church, these Latinate terms endured.

In some respects, Anglicans seem to speak a foreign language. First time visitors to the church are often lost, as one must juggle books, learn when to sit, kneel, stand, process, and then listen in as the commentary around them may begin to take the form of a secret medieval code. 'Oops, the acolytes forgot to put out the lavabo again.' 'My, would you look at that tattered tippet? It must always get caught on the sedalia.' 'I was sorry to miss the exsultet, but the curate dropped the cruet in the sacristy, and I couldn't make it back to the narthex for the start of the procession...'

Yes, all of these terms and more are explained in plain English in the alphabetically arranged entries of the dictionary. The illustrations help in terms of vestments, 'furniture' pieces, various postures, and more. The discussion is very practical, more in terms of 'what' than of 'why' - the theological underpinnings are also rarely discussed, as that could take volumes, and goes beyond the scope of this work, which is meant to be a handy reference and easy-to-follow guide for the newcomer, the new acolyte or ministry helper, or the general member of the congregation who wants a bit more understanding of his or her surroundings.

Testament to its popularity, the dictionary has gone through several editions and revisions - the first edition I have is one from the early 1980s, and the latest from 2000, in a wide-book format. A must-have for any Episcopalian, it is also useful for those in other churches. It is also a good reference book to have by Episcopal churches.

Quick! What's a "dossal"?  Jan 2, 2004
On the surface of things, there might seem something a bit precious about a dictionary that explains "churchy" terms. It smacks of private language and esoteric, self-enclosed culture--two characteristics frequently ascribed to the Episcopal Church. But in fact John Wall's (revised & expanded) dictionary is a gem for at least three reasons. First, it helps the average Episcopalian to get in better touch with his/her tradition. Two thousand years of practice are embedded in the Eucharist and other religious liturgies, and it helps to heighten appreciation and celebration when the richness of that practice is better understood. (The priest's washing of hands is called "lavabo," from the Latin for "I will wash," and dates back at least to Jewish ceremonial ablutions.) Second, any Episcopalian who will ever serve on the altar guild or vestry or as a lay eucharistic minister is going to run across terms that are unfamiliar--paten, pall, centrum, burse, etc. In fact, people in the pew who play no other role in church are likely to be confused at some terms: for example, concelebration, collect, rood, proper. So the dictionary is incredibly helpful from a purely practical perspective. Finally, it's simply very cool to learn that objects in the church and acts in liturgy actually have names: cincture, solemn vs. simple bow, orans position. Believe it or not, this is one dictionary you'll read straight through.

By the way: a dossal is the "large piece of fabric, often decorated with symbols, hung on the wall behind the altar. The term is derived from the Latin word for 'back'" (p 45).

Excellent--and illustrations are beautiful  Aug 1, 2003
I agree with the reviewers below that this is THE essential book for newcomers to the Episcopal church, or even for lifetime Episcopalians who just never got all those terms straight. Also a great gift for someone's confirmation, or for a wedding where one spouse is an Episcopalian and the other isn't.

The illustrations deserve special mention, too--they're clear, crisp, and elegant. These, and the lovely design of the book, really enhance its gift-giving appropriateness.

Describe every imaginal Episcopalian word...  Sep 17, 2002
I have to say that I loved this book/dictionary. For someone who did not come from a litergical background, this book illuminated so much for me. Every Episcopalian church should have this available for new members.

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