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.

St. Jacques Majeur

The Roman Catholic counterpart of Ogou in the Haitian Vodou tradition. Also called St. James.


In the Christian tradition, confession is the public or private acknowledgment of sin, which is said to separate human beings from God and from one another.

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday is the Thursday of Holy Week, the week before Easter. It is the day on which Jesus is said to have shared a final meal with his disciples before he was betrayed to the Roman authorities who arrested him. It is also called Maundy Thursday, from the new commandment (mandatum) Jesus gave his disciples on that day: to love one another as he had loved them.

Nicene Creed

The most universal creed of the Christian community worldwide, the Nicene Creed was formulated by the ecumenical council called by the Emperor Constantine at Nicaea in Asia Minor in 325 CE. The creed affirms a Trinitarian understanding of the One God—as Creator, as Christ, and as Holy Spirit.


Christianity is the religious tradition of Christians: those who confesses faith in Jesus Christ, follow the path Christ taught, and gather together in the community of the church.


Fundamentalism is an early 20th century American Christian movement often seen as a conservative response to the influence of the Enlightenment, new Biblical scholarship, and the claims of modern science. It stressed five points of faith it called the “fundamentals,” beginning with the literal “inerrancy” of the Bible. The term fundamentalism is often used more widely to describe dogmatic forms of religious belief.


Minister is a general term for a member of the clergy in the Christian church. The term has also come to use in other religious traditions to designate a member of the clergy (as in the Jodo Shinshu tradition and the Nation of Islam).


The Quaker movement, properly known as the Society of Friends, had its beginnings in 17th century England with George Fox (1624-91), whose form of worship was liturgically sparse, relying on silence and the inspiring movement of the Inner Light, the spiritual presence within each person which prompts him or her to speak. The Society of Friends has been strongly committed to pacifism. William Penn, a Quaker, was the founder of the Pennsylvania colony based on the Quaker principle of religious tolerance.


Calvinism is the tradition of Christian faith and practice developed by the 16th century reformer John Calvin (1509-64) who emphasized the sole authority of scripture, the omnipotence and sovereignty of God, human sinfulness, and salvation by faith alone.


Eucharist, meaning “thanksgiving,” names the central rite of the Christian tradition in which Christians share the sanctified bread and wine, giving thanks to God, as Jesus did in sharing such a meal with his disciples. This rite is also called holy communion, the Lord’s supper.


Mass is a term used in the Roman Catholic Church for the ritual that culminates in the celebration of the Eucharist, the central rite of sharing the consecrated bread and wine in the church community.

Promise Keepers

The Promise Keepers is a conservative Christian movement founded by former University of Colorado football coach, Bill McCartney. The movement, which began in 1990, shapes a strong sense of Christian male responsibility and bonding, bringing thousands of men to sports stadiums for new-style Christian revivals.


Benedictines are members of monastic orders who live according to the Rule of St. Benedict, the 6th century monk of Monte Cassino in Italy whose teachings lie at the heart of monastic life, ancient and modern.