Glossary of terms

This section lists some common words and terms used in the Church of England. Cclick on the first letter of the word and a list of words beginning with that letter will appear. Click on more.. for that word for an explanation.  This will open a separate window with the description and, in some cases, an image.


This is a formal pronouncement of Forgiveness of our sins made by the priest on behalf of God. Confession and Absolution can also be made between an individual and a priest and can be carried out in the Confessional - a stall in the church building for this specific purpose. Rare in the C of E.


The first season of the church year, beginning with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and continuing through the day before Christmas. The name is derived from a Latin word for "coming." The season is a time of preparation and expectation for the coming celebration of our Lord's nativity, and for the final coming of Christ "in power and glory."

Agnus Dei

(Latin = Lamb of God) Said or sung just before we receive communion. 'Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world'. A phrase first used by John the Baptist and a symbol used frequently in Christian Art. The window above the High Altar at St Margaret's shows the lamb in a position of triumph with its leg hooked round the pole of a flag made up of a red cross on a white background = Jesus is the sacrifice who has triumphed.



A white garment, sometimes held at the waist by a girdle; can be worn by anyone, but, if worn by the priest, it is worn under the chasuble. A baptismal robe meaning to be clothed in Christ.


The structure, also known as "the Lord's Table," "the Holy Table," and "the Table," where the offerings are presented and the elements of bread and wine are consecrated in the eucharist.


Amen comes from the Hebrew and means 'so be it' or 'truly'. We use the word to indicate our agreement with the words which have been expressed in prayers or sung in psalms or hymns.



Square linen garment; like a hood and falling back from the neck. Edge embroidered with a Cross and matching seasons of church's year. A symbol of the blindfolding of Jesus. Sometimes worn by priest; often worn by servers.


A bishop with administrative and disciplinary authority over other bishops. In the Anglican Communion, an archbishop is the chief bishop of a province. In England there are two provinces, Canterbury and York. The Archbishop of Canterbury is Primate of all England.


Our diocese is divided into three archdeaconries - Chichester, Horsham and Lewes/Hastings. Over each area the archdeacon carries out specific duties such as the supervision of the clergy and of the proper management of church property. He will have a role to play in the induction of an incumbent (ie when a new Rector or Vicar is installed in his/her parish) and he will admit churchwardens to their office. Our Archdeacon is the Venerable Roger Combes, Archdeacon of Horsham.


This is a cupboard or locker set into the wall, usually to the north side of the altar. The word 'aumbry' comes from the Latin 'armarium' = closet or chest. The aumbry is used to keep the Reserved Sacrament, that is the consecrated bread and wine. These elements are then taken to sick people who cannot get to church and the idea of reserving the Sacrament in this way is to provide a direct link between the sick person and the celebration of the Eucharist in Church. An Aumbry Lamp burns continually in honour of the Blessed Sacrament. The aumbry in use at St Margaret's is to the north of the altar in the Abergavenny Chapel with a white lamp just above it. This aumbry was built in memory of Charles Williams, Vicar of Ditchling 1921-1943.