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.


Father: a widely used title for a male priest. This has the same meaning as Padre used most widely in Italian and Spanish speaking countries and also used for chaplains in the forces. (see Clerk, Parson, Reverend, Vicar) In a Team Ministry the most senior priest is known as the Team Rector. Our Vicar, alias Father David, answers to all these titles: Clerk, Parson, Reverend, Father, Vicar


The Font holds the water used at Baptism. At Baptism, the sins of the individual are washed away, he/she is welcomed into membership of God's family and he/she receives the gift of the Holy Spirit. Admission to the membership of the church is the first step of the way and hence the font is usually situated at the back of the church.

In the Middle Ages, the font was a powerful symbol of the pastoral authority of the parish church, for all members of the local community would be baptised by their parish priest. And so many ancient fonts have survived longer than the church buildings in which they were originally situated.

Baptism was frequently held at Eastertide when the font would be filled with water which would be left for future use - hence many were lined with lead. To keep the holy water clean and to prevent it being taken for unchristian purposes, lids to the font were compulsory from 1236. In many cases iron bars and locks were added to make the lid absolutely secure. Nowadays, of course, water used at Baptism is blessed at the service itself.