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Anglican terminology explained

Anglican terminology can appear confusing to a visitor or newcomer. What is the difference between a bishop, an archdeacon, and a dean? The following descriptions have been around in different forms for a while, but are still difficult to improve on:

Leaps tall buildings in a single bound,
Is more powerful than a locomotive,
Is faster than a speeding bullet,
Walks on water,
Gives policy to God.

Leaps short buildings in a single bound,
Is more powerful than a switch engine,
Is just as fast as a speeding bullet,
Walks on water if the sea is calm,
Talks with God.

Leaps short buildings with a running start and favourable winds,
Is almost as powerful as a switch engine,
Is faster than a decelerating bullet,
Walks on water in an indoor swimming pool,
Talks with God if special request is approved.

Barely clears a mud hut,
Loses tug-of-war with locomotives,
Can fire a speeding bullet,
Swims well,
Is occasionally addressed by God.

Makes high marks on the wall when trying to leap tall buildings,
Is run over by locomotives,
Can sometimes handle a gun without inflicting self-injury,
Dog paddles,
Talks to animals.

Runs into buildings,
Recognises locomotives 2 out of 3 times,
Is not issued ammunition,
Can stay afloat with a life jacket,
Talks to walls.

Falls over doorsteps when trying to enter buildings.
Says, “Look at the choo-choo!”
Wets himself with a water pistol,
Plays in mud puddles,
Mumbles to himself.

Lifts buildings and walks under them,
Kicks locomotives off the tracks,
Catches speeding bullets with her teeth and eats them,
Freezes water in a single glance,
IS God.


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7 thoughts on “Anglican terminology explained”

  1. Best definition I’ve ever heard of an Archdeacon is that he (or she, these days) is “The crook at the head of the Bishop’s staff”!

    1. The tags, Ed and Colin, indicate this is humour. If you have a humorous definition of the laity that continues in this vein – do please contribute it in the comment box. Anyone who spends time here will realise that I regard and advocate strongly for all the baptised as equals in the church, with different vocations. Unfortunately, even the term “laity” is normally a statement of what a person is not. “All those persons who are not members of a given profession or other specialised field”. I am surprised you think that “laity” is “Anglican terminology that can appears confusing to a visitor or newcomer” which is how this post starts.

  2. May I point out that you’ve made the same error as many RCs and not put in a definition of the laity – and suggest the mushroom model of the church?

  3. Very good definition that helps a Lutheran from the other end of the world understand Anglican terminology.
    I do- of course- support the understanding that all babptised are equals in the church.
    And I do also support the fact, that the diocesan or parish secretary IS God. 😉
    Bless them for their ministry.

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