Please ask any priest, staff member, or parish leader questions you may have about our life, practices, or terms. This partial list is provided to help those unfamiliar with Episcopal Church terminology.
Acolyte - Youth of the parish who assist in leading worship as crucifer (cross bearer) and torch bearers.
Altar Rail - Railing in the sanctuary where we kneel to receive communion. The custom in this parish is to receive with outstretched hands, right palm over the left. The proper response is "Amen." To receive a blessing, cross your arms over your chest, or for a child, simply tell the priest.
Angel - Greek word meaning "messenger." Overlooking the cloister columbarium is a bronze angel titled, Gabriel. It is a striking piece of artwork. The bear chest reveals vulnerability and the skirt shows swiftness of flight. The angel is a gift from the late Frank B. Foster in memory of his wife, Phoebe.
Aumbry - The recessed cupboard with golden door behind the altar in which some consecrated bread of the Eucharist is reserved for communion of the sick and devotional purposes. The sanctuary lamp (candle) is continually lit to acknowledge the presence of Christ in the sacrament. Gestures of reverence (genuflection, bow) are made in the presence of the reserved sacrament.
Book of Common Prayer (BCP) - The liturgies (rituals of worship) found in the BCP are what bind the Episcopal Church together amidst a diversity of belief and practice. It is the black book in the pew. Browse through it! It is a rich deposit of our ancient faith. If you would like to borrow one or find out where to purchase a copy, please ask a priest.
Bishop - "Episcopal" comes from the Latin word for bishop. The Bishop is the chief sign of the unity of the Church, and the overseer and pastor of the Diocese. The Bishop is elected at a Convention of representatives of every parish.
Blessing - The pronouncement of God's favor done by a bishop or priest.
Celebrant - The leader of the liturgy who officiates at the altar during the celebration of the Mass. Also called the Presider.
Chalice - The cup that holds the consecrated wine.
Church Calendar - The Church year is comprised of six seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and the Season after Pentecost or Ordinary Time. There are also many days throughout the year where events in the life of Christ or saints of the Church are remembered. The Calendar tells the story of our faith.
Collect - a short prayer that ‘collects' the silent prayer of the people. The Collect of the Day resonates with the themes from scripture for the day.
Columbarium - At Holy Comforter, it is the cloistered area between the church and the rectory where remains of the deceased are interred along the wall. The Columbarium is a lovely place for quiet prayer. It contains the original altar of the parish, now encased in an arch.
Cross - A symbol of Christian faith and life; the instrument of death used to crucify Jesus. The cross at the pulpit is a crucifix; we preach Christ crucified. The cross at the altar is Christos Rex; we celebrate Christ risen.
Daily Office - Found in the BCP, the forms for prayer to be used individually or communally throughout the day-Morning, Noonday, Evening (or if sung, Evensong), and Compline. They come from the ancient monastic prayer services.
Diocese of Chicago - Part of the Episcopal Church, the Diocese encompasses all of northern Illinois, from Chicago to the Mississippi, from the Wisconsin border to Watseka, IL along the Iroquois river in the south. It is comprised of 137 congregations, including 36 missions. The Rt. Reverend William Persell serves as our bishop and The Rt. Reverend Victor Scantlebury serves as our Assisting Bishop. The Cathedral of St. James and the diocesan headquarters are at 65 E. Huron Street in Chicago.
Dove - The symbol of the Holy Spirit. The dove in the narthex (entry of the church) is carved of stone and was a gift to the church during our Centennial celebration by then present parishioners in thanksgiving for one hundred years of Christian life and ministry in Kenilworth. A second dove is located in the parlor. The entire dove and shield is carved from a single piece of wood and given to the parish by Bob and Nancy Dau in thanksgiving for their marriage.
Font - The wooden basin at the back of the nave which holds the water of baptism.
Holy Eucharist - The principal service of Christian worship consisting of two parts: the Liturgy of the Word during which we hear the story of salvation proclaimed; and the Holy Communion during which we share the communion (common union) of the Body and Blood of Christ. This liturgy is also known as the Lord's Supper, Divine Liturgy, The Great Offering, or the Mass.
Holy Water - Water is an important symbol of the Christian faith. At Creation, the Holy Spirit brooded over the waters, at the Exodus Moses led the people of Israel through the Red Sea, Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan. Holy water is blessed by a priest and used at baptism or as a devotional reminder of our baptism (dip your finger in the water and make the sign of the cross).
Mary statue - The beautifully carved wooden Mary statue from Germany offers a quiet place for prayer and devotion. Mary, the mother of our Lord and the Mother of the Church, is the most beloved of all the saints and is remembered in the Book of Common Prayer with four feasts.
Oblation Bearers - The parishioners who carry the bread and wine to the altar after the offertory and present it to be consecrated.
Offertory - Members of the congregation bring forward the bread and wine along with the monetary offering and present them to the priest at the altar.
Paschal Candle - At each Eucharist we celebrate the Paschal Mystery, which is the heart of our Christian hope: Christ has died and so shall we; Christ is raised, and so are we. The tall white candle that is lit from the new fire at the Easter Vigil each year heralds the presence of the light of Christ our Passover (Paschal). It remains lit during the season of Easter, and at all Baptisms and funerals.
Rector - The Rector is the Pastor of the parish. He is called by the Vestry with the approval of the Bishop. Once called and approved, he serves a life tenure or until he resigns. He or she is the Presiding Officer of the Vestry and the only member whose term does not expire. The Rector has responsibility for the life and welfare of the parish.
Rectory - The house owned by the parish adjacent to the Columbarium where the Rector's family lives.
Relief - Near the pulpit is a wooden relief which depicts our Lord on the cross speaking to His blessed Mother and the Beloved Disciple as they gather near Him. John 19.26 & 27 contains the words He speaks. This relief, titled "Love Set Free," was carved from a solid piece of wood and given in thanksgiving for Father Myers' 20th anniversary as our Rector.
Rite I/Rite II - The two Eucharistic rites found in the BCP. Rite I is an adaptation of the rite found in the 1928 version of the Prayer Book, and one of its chief characteristics is its retaining of the Elizabethan language. Rite II is the more ancient rite, using contemporary language and additional options for Eucharistic Prayers.
Sacristy - The room adjacent to the sanctuary where the Altar Guild stores and prepares the vessels, elements (bread & wine), linens, and vestments for the liturgies of the church. The clergy also vest and assemble for worship in this area.
Sign of the Cross - One of the signs of devotion used by some at certain times during the liturgy to remind them that they live under the sign of the cross, meaning, the great love of Christ. It is made by touching the index finger of an opened had to the middle of the forehead, then touching the center of the chest at the heart, and concludes with touching the left and right shoulders.
Vestments - the liturgical dress worn by the liturgical ministers. The priest's vestments change according to the color of the Church calendar.
Vestry - The Vestry is the governing board and consists of the Rector (who is the Presiding Officer), two wardens, twelve laypeople (elected by the congregation at the annual meeting; four new members elected every year to a three year term), and the Treasurer, the Chancellor, and the Clerk. The Vestry calls the Rector, makes decisions of policy, and formulates the budget. Each member is responsible for a particular area in the life of the parish.
A good resource for further definitions of all things Anglican: A Dictionary for Episcopalians by John N. Wall. Published by Cowley Press, a copy can be found in the parish library.