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.


(Latin = Holy) Said or sung during the Eucharistic Prayer 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts'. First appeared in the Liturgy of the 4th Century.



This is a long narrow strip of black material worn over the surplice. The scarf of the Reader is blue.



This hangs from the neck between the alb and the chasuble, usually embroidered with three crosses. In seasonal colours to match chasuble, amice and altar. It represents the towel worn by Jesus on Maundy Thursday to wash the disciples' feet.



From the Latin 'superpelliceum' meaning 'over a fur garment'. To be worn originally as a pure white cover for the workaday cassock and hence to symbolise purity and holiness - another version of the Alb. A loose white garment of varying length and with wide sleeves. Readers and choirmen also wear surplices.

Sursum Corda

(Latin = lift up hearts) Said or sung at beginning of Eucharistic Prayer: 'Lift up your hearts - We lift them up to the Lord'.


The word 'synod' comes from two Greek words meaning 'the way' and 'together'. The principle of 'synodical government' is that of partnership between the bishops, the clergy and the lay people.

Deanery Synod: consists of the clergy of the Deanery and of lay people elected by each parish. The Beacon parish is in the Hurst Deanery.

The Diocesan Synod: has three 'houses': bishops, clergy, lay people. Representatives for the clergy and lay people are elected by deanery synods. The Diocesan Bishop consults with the diocesan synod on matters of general concern and importance to the diocese.

The general Synod: also has three 'houses'. It is the legislative assembly, the financial authority and administrative centre of the church. It also conducts debates on matters of religious and public interest and concern. It was first created in 1969 and its representatives are elected for five year periods.