I have a strong dislike of jargon, especially when there is no explanation of what it means.  I also know that I fall into the trap of the hypocrite by using it myself, and for that I ask your forgiveness!  As time goes on, as as I come across acronyms and terms whose meaning is not immediately obvious I will add them to this list.

Please feel free to suggest things to add to the list.

Last updated: 25th January 2016

  • ABC – The Archdeacons and Bishops Pastoral Conversations, the body with oversight of ministry matters in the Church of England.
  • ABM – the Advisory Board for Ministry, now known as a Bishop’s Advisory Panel (BAP).
  • ACCM – Advisory Council for the Church’s Ministry, a previous name for ABM and BAP. 
  • ADDO – an Associate Diocesan Director of Ordinands who works collaboratively with the DDO.
  • BAP – Bishop’s Advisory Panel, a residential conference where those being put forward for ordination training are interviewed by advisers to the bishops.  Ordination candidates also give a presentation on an aspect of ministry and take part in group discussions.  After the conference the advisers make a recommendation to a bishop as to whether the candidates should go forward for training.
  • CMD – Continuing Ministerial Development, further learning and development undertaken by ordained and lay ministers after initial training and authorisation. Not to be confused with OMD, a musical band formed in 1978.
  • CPAS – Church Pastoral Aid Society
  • Curate – often after completing training and being ordained Deacons and Priests undergo a period as a Curate where they receive further training and development.  Technically they are “assistant curates, for the incumbent is the curate, acting as he does, on behalf of the bishop, who is responsible for the cure [cure meaning care] of souls in his diocese.” (Source: The Church of England Alphabetical Companion).
  • DDO – Diocesan Director of Ordinands, a person appointed by a bishop that oversees the selection, training and possible first appointment of people called to become ordained.
  • Deacon – An Ordinand is made a Deacon after the completion of their training when they are ordained to serve in a parish. Usually after a year of service they are ordained as a Priest and authorised to preside at services of Holy Communion.
  • the Discernment Processshorthand for the time trying to work out whether God is calling you to train for ordination; although, truth be told, discerning what God wants us to do applies to everyone and never stops.
  • Examining Chaplain – a person, lay or ordained, asked by a DDO to help them and a Bishop discern, select and encourage those who are exploring ordination.
  • HoB – House of Bishops, the Upper House of General Synod which also meets separately. Includes all Diocesan Bishops and a number of elected representatives from among the Suffragan and Area Bishops.  Not to be confused with Hobnob, a type of biscuit they may eat.
  • Incumbent – the minister in charge of a Benefice, often entitled Vicar or Rector.
  • MinDiv or Ministry Division – The national ministry department of the Church of England responsible for advising the House of Bishops, individual Bishops and members of diocesan staff about matters relating to Vocation, Selection, Ministerial Education and Development, and Deployment.  Not to be confused with the Ministry of Truth which doesn’t exist, apparently.
  • Ordinand – a person recommended for and undergoing training towards becoming ordained.  After completing the training they are then recommended (or not!) to be ordained.
  • PCC – Parochial Church Council, a group of leaders at a particular church which has the legal responsibility for much that happens in their church.
  • PotOrd – Potential ordinand, a person/candidate working with the DDO and/or ADDO to confirm a call to ordained ministry.  Not to be confused with a PotHead (either type) or taken as a horticultural instruction.
  • Priest – Deacons are usually ordained as a Priest after a year of service in a parish and authorised to preside at services of Holy Communion.
  • Reader – lay (non-ordained) people who have been selected, trained and licensed by the Bishop of a diocese to preach, teach and lead worship in a pastoral context.  For more information visit the Church of England website.
  • Rector – a Priest in Charge/Leader of a self-supporting parish (the Church Society has written a comparison of Rector and Vicar)
  • S.H.A.P.E. stands for Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experience. CPAS have an online tool to help people explore these areas so that they can understand more about themselves and how God has made and shaped them.
  • Verger – a person who assists in the ordering of religious service, normally lay/not-ordained.
  • Vicar –  the Priest in Charge/Leader of a parish, self-supporting or supported financially from the outside (i.e. by the Church of England) essentially the same as a Rector (the Church Society has written a comparison of Rector and Vicar)

You may find the following glossaries useful too (from which some of the above has been sourced):

2 thoughts on “Glossary

  1. I had been having thoughts about what god is calling me to do when I found your blog, I was searching for informal advice and guidance on the process of ordination and help with a little self reflection prior to having the conversation with my wife and then my vicar about my sense of calling

    This is very well written and come across as completely honest

    I wish you every success with your training and with your blog, I hope you have the time to carry on with it asfter ordination and the start of your ministry

    • Thank you Andrew, that’s appreciated. My studies and assignments have meant this blog has been rather quiet of late (my twitter account is more active: @pilgrimexplorer) but I hope to write a post over Christmas. I hope your discernment goes well and you’re able to find where you should be heading.

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