The Methodist church is a Protestant communion of churches which began in England with John Wesley (1703-91) and has become a worldwide movement. In the U.S., the United Methodist Church—one of the largest Protestant denominations—is known for its strong social principles and hearty evangelical spirit.


The Book of Psalms is part of the Bible cherished by both Jews and Christians as a song-book and prayer-book. It is ascribed to King David and expresses such heart-felt prayers of praise, petition, and penitence that it has become a central part of the liturgical life and the private devotions of people in both religious communities. The Bay Psalm Book of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was the first English-language book printed in the Americas.

St. Bridget

St. Bridget (1303-1373) was born in Sweden and devoted herself wholly to spiritual life after the death of her husband. She founded a religious order and lived the last decades of her life in Rome. She was canonized as a saint in 1391.


The dispensational view is one that divides human history into eras called “dispensations.” In the premillennialist view, there are seven dispensations beginning with the Garden of Eden and ending with the Millennium and the coming of the Kingdom of God.


Baptism is the Christian sacrament of initiation in which new birth into the Christian community is conferred by sprinkling of or immersion in water.


Deism is a belief system that upholds the existence of a God using rational (rather than supernatural) grounds.


In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of forty days of preparation, study, and penitence preceding Easter.


Pentecost was the “fiftieth” day after Easter and is celebrated in the Christian church as the day on which the Holy Spirit descended upon the followers of Christ gathered in Jerusalem, inspiring them to form a new community of preaching, praise, and practice. It is sometimes known as the birthday of the church. Its events are narrated in The Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2.

Apostolic Church

The term apostolic refers to the early Christian era, with traditions of ministry and authority derived from the apostles, the immediate disciples of Jesus.


Joshua was the leader Moses appointed to succeed him after his death, laying his hands upon Joshua and committing to him the leadership of the people of Israel. According to biblical history, Joshua led the Israelites, who had been tested for forty years in the desert, across the River Jordan and into the promised land of Israel.


A pastor (from the Latin word for shepherd) is a member of the clergy with responsibility for a particular congregation. For Lutherans, it is a formal title for a parish minister.


The Amish are Protestant Christians of Anabaptist origin, beginning in Europe in the late 16th century with commitment to the adult “believer’s” baptism and to pacifism. In the U.S., the Amish in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other parts of the Midwest have maintained a strong sense of community and continue to insist on simplicity, rejecting the use of modern technology.


Crèche—“crib” in French—is the Christmas season display of the birth-scene of Jesus. It may be simple or elaborate, but always includes the parents, Joseph and Mary, and the crib—a manger for the feeding of cattle in a stable. In some folk traditions, the representation of the baby Jesus is added to the crib only on Christmas Eve.


Jerusalem, the ancient capital of Israel from the time of King David (c. 1000 BCE), was the ritual and spiritual center of the Jewish people for 1,000 years until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. For Jews, Jerusalem is still the geographical epicenter of the tradition. For Christians, Jerusalem the site of the mighty events of Christ’s death and resurrection. For Muslims, Jerusalem is the place where the prophet Muhammad came on his Night Journey from Makkah to the very throne of God.


Ordination means consecration to a priestly or monastic life. The term is used in the Buddhist tradition for the rites of becoming a monk (bhikkhu) or nun (bhikkhuni); in the Jewish tradition for the rites of becoming a rabbi; and in the Christian tradition for the rites of becoming a priest or minister.