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Glossary: A

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Abingdon Press

The name used by The United Methodist Publishing House for the publishing of books. The name is connected with American Methodism through the founding of Cokesbury College in Abingdon, Maryland.... Read More

acolyte

A person who assists in the worship service. Normally the acolyte serves by lighting and extinguishing the candles on the communion or altar table and distributing and collecting the offering... Read More

Advance for Christ and His Church

An official United Methodist program for voluntary, second-mile giving. The Advance is called second-mile giving because, in The United Methodist Church, the first mile (priority) is for local churches to... Read More

Advent

Since the eighth century, the beginning or first season of the Christian year. Advent focuses on preparing for the coming of Christ. More

Advent Wreath

Wreaths used during the observation of Advent. Advent wreaths are of two basic types. The first is a circle, generally of evergreens, which is hung in the sanctuary of the... Read More

affiliate member, local church

A lay person residing away from home for an extended period who is enrolled in a nearby church for fellowship, pastoral care, and participation in activities. The affiliate member may... Read More

Aldersgate

From Aldersgate Street in London. On this street was a meeting place in which John Wesley had his heart-warming conversion experience on May 24, 1738. Charles Wesley only a few days before... Read More

altar

Historically, an altar has been the table or structure on which a sacrifice is offered. In the liturgical Christian groups, such as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, the altar... More

altar call

The invitation offered by the pastor to come forward to the chancel rail or communion table in order to dedicate one's life to Christ, to become a member of... Read More

altar cloth

The cloth which covers the Lord's table or communion table. When only one color is used throughout the year, it is usually white. In many churches the color of... Read More

Anglican

Of or relating to the Church of England or any of the churches related to it. A member of the Church of England. John Wesley lived and died as an... Read More

annual conference

A regional, organizational unit of The United Methodist Church and the yearly business meeting of that unit, both presided over by a bishop. More

Apocrypha

The collective name given to the collection of fifteen books written generally during the period between the writing of the last books of the Old Testament and those of the... Read More

Apostles' Creed

The affirmation of faith most widely used by United Methodists. The Apostles' Creed derives its name from its use in the Christian church from as early as A.D. 150 and... More

appointment to extension ministries

Ordained ministers may be appointed to serve in ministries that extend the ministry of the local United Methodist church. Elders in such appointments remain within the itineracy and are accountable... Read More

appointment, ministerial

The annual assignment to a field of service of ministerial members active in an annual conference. More

apportionment

The share each annual conference or local church pays to support international, national and regional (annual conference) mission. More

Archives and History, General Commission on

The agency established by the General Conference to gather, preserve, hold title to, and disseminate materials on the history of The United Methodist Church and its antecedents. It maintains archives... Read More

Articles of Religion

The series of twenty-five doctrinal statements considered part of the doctrinal standards of The United Methodist Church. The original list of thirty-nine was first adopted by the Church of England... Read More

Statue shows Francis Asbury on horseback . Courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

Asbury, Francis

The dominant figure in the formation and growth of The Methodist Episcopal Church in the U.S. Asbury (1745-1816) was born in Birmingham, England. Read More

Ash Wednesday

The first day of Lent. It marks the beginning of a period of reflection and penance. More

associate member, local church

A lay member of another denomination, residing away from home for an extended period, who attends a United Methodist church may be enrolled as an associate member. The associate member... Read More