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American Sign Language Glossary Videos

These videos express Christian and United Methodist terms and definitions in American Sign Language (ASL). The information is presented by members of the translation team who are Deaf. Please note that some signs are regional and may vary from state to state. All definitions are translations of the official glossary of The United Methodist Church

This series is sponsored by The United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries (UMCDHM). To contact them, please visit their website or Facebook.

Videos in the series were produced by United Methodist Communications.

Glossary: Advent

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

Glossary: 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

Glossary: 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

Glossary: 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

Glossary: appointment, ministerial

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

Glossary: apportionment

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

Glossary: Ash Wednesday

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

Glossary: baptism

The sacramental act whereby a person is cleansed by the Holy Spirit and becomes part of the body of Christ-the church universal. More

Glossary: benediction

A traditional close to the worship services with a word or a blessing. More

Glossary: bishop

An elder (ordained minister) who is elected to the office of bishop. More

Glossary: Book of Discipline, The

A fundamental book outlining the law, doctrine, administration, organizational work and procedures of The United Methodist Church. More

Glossary: Book of Resolutions, The

The volume containing the text of all resolutions or pronouncements on issues approved by the General Conference and currently valid. More

Glossary: central conference

One of seven geographic areas outside the territorial United States, each composed of annual conferences as determined by the General Conference. Central Conferences have responsibilities similar to those of Jurisdictional... More

Glossary: charge conference

The charge conference is the basic governing body of each United Methodist local church and is composed of all members of the church council. More

Glossary: Christmas

The day on which Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. More

Glossary: church council

The church council plans and implements the programs and ministry of the local church as well as oversees the administration of the church. More

Glossary: communion

One of the sacraments of The United Methodist Church. This sacrament is often called the Lord's Supper. Eucharist, from the Greek word for thanksgiving, has been yet another traditional name... More

Glossary: confirmation

The act by which persons who were baptized as infants or young children (or, because of other special circumstances, could not make the baptismal vows themselves) make their first public... More

Glossary: connectional covenant

The pledge to financially support in full the general funds of The United Methodist Church, established by the General Conference to underwrite the minimum needs of denominational ministries, which are... More

Glossary: discipleship

The active living of the individual Christian in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ, that is, being as effective a disciple of Christ as possible. Discipleship involves a ministry... More

Glossary: district

A regional group of churches or charges, supervised by a district superintendent. More

Glossary: district superintendent

An ordained minister appointed by a bishop to oversee the pastors and local churches in a district. A district superintendent may not serve in that capacity more than six years... More

Glossary: doxology

In general usage, a short statement of praise, glory, and thanksgiving to God. It is often a short hymn designed to be sung by the worshiping congregation. The doxology most... More

The silhouette of a cross stands tall in the rising sun. Image courtesy of The Upper Room.

Glossary: Easter

Easter is the most important day in the calendar. More

Glossary: elder

A person ordained to a lifetime ministry of service, word, sacrament and order. He or she is authorized to preach and teach God’s word, to administer the sacraments of... More

Glossary: elements

The term used to refer to the bread and wine used in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. More

Glossary: Epiphany

January 6, which marks the end of the Christmas season or Christmastide. In the Western churches, Epiphany Day has marked the observance of the arrival of the wise men. In the... More

Glossary: Good Friday

The Friday before Easter on which the crucifixion of Jesus is remembered. Good Friday services focus upon prayer and reflection on the death of Christ and penance and special devotion... More

Glossary: gospel

From the Latin evangelium, meaning good tale or good news. Gospel has a number of distinct meanings. It refers to the Good News concerning Christ, the Kingdom of God, and... More

Holy Week

The week of Christian observances leading to Easter Sunday. It begins with Palm Sunday and progresses through Holy or Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. More

Glossary: intinction

A method of partaking of the elements in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. In this procedure, the participant takes the bread and dips it into the wine in a... More

Glossary: jurisdiction

The five geographic areas in the United States, each composed of several annual conferences as determined by the General Conference: North Central, Northeastern, South Central, Southeastern and Western. Source: Sharing... More

Glossary: Lent

A forty-day period of focus on penitence and preparation for the Resurrection Event of Easter. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and ends at sunset Easter Eve. The liturgical color for... More

Glossary: litany

A liturgical prayer consisting of a series of invocations and prayer requests. The litany usually consists of sections read alternately by the worship leader and the congregation. Source: A Dictionary... More

Glossary: local church

A congregation of persons who have joined together as Christians and as United Methodists to carry forward the message of Christ and to witness to and serve the world. It... More

Glossary: Lord’s Prayer, the

The name generally given to the prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13 and, in shorter form, in Luke 11:2-4. More

Glossary: membership vows

Taken when a person joins a United Methodist church. By taking the membership vows, the individual agrees to covenant with God and the members of the local church to keep... More

Glossary: New Testament

Includes the twenty-seven books accepted by Christians as authoritative or canonical concerning the life of Christ and the experience of the early Christian church. Article V of the United Methodist... More

Glossary: Nicene Creed

Frequently used as an affirmation of faith in United Methodist worship services. The Nicene Creed is the historic statement of belief of the Christian faith devised by the Council of... More

Glossary: Old Testament

The thirty-nine books of the pre-Christian era considered authoritative and canonical by most Protestant churches. Article V of the United Methodist Articles of Religion specifically lists these thirty-nine books. This... More

Glossary: Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday)

The Sunday immediately preceding Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and begins the series of observances focusing on the events of Holy Week. This Sunday... More

Glossary: pastoral charge

One or more local United Methodist churches to which an ordained or licensed minister is appointed by the bishop. The pastoral charge is organized according to The Book of Discipline... More

Glossary: Pentecost

One of the principal days of the Christian year, celebrated on the fiftieth day after Easter. The Greek word pentecoste means "fiftieth day." Pentecost is the day on which the... More

Glossary: sacrament

Something consecrated or holy. Traditionally, a Christian ordinance manifesting an inward, spiritual grace by an outward, visible sign or symbol. United Methodists recognize two sacraments: baptism and Holy Communion. Source:... More

Glossary: tithe

The setting aside of one-tenth of one's income for God as is specifically noted in the Bible. Tithing has been the traditional minimum standard of giving for Christians. The United... More

Glossary: United Methodist Church, The

This denomination was formed in 1968 by the union of The Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church. It serves members in more than seventy Annual Conferences in five Jurisdictional... More

Glossary: Wesley, Charles

The younger brother of John Wesley and a formative leader in the Methodist movement. More

A stained glass window depicts Methodism’s founding father, John Wesley. Photo by Ronny Perry, United Methodist Communications.

Glossary: Wesley, John

The founder of the Methodist movement was born at Epworth, England, the son of a Church of England clergyman. More