Anabaptist is a general term for several Reformation movements that insisted on the baptism of adult believers, as opposed to infant baptism, and who generally rejected the establishment of Protestant state churches. The Schleitheim Confession (1527) also rejects military service, violence, and the swearing of oaths by conscientious Christians.


The cross is the central symbol of the Christian faith, pointing to the significance for the church of the whole Christ event: the life and teachings, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Holy Week

Holy Week is the week preceding Easter in which the whole drama of the Christian story is recalled, from Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to his crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Nostra Aetate

Nostra Aetate,”In our time,” are the first words (and thus the title words) of an important document produced by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) addressing with new openness the relation of the Roman Catholic Church to non-Christian religions.


Transcendentalism was a movement of 19th century American thought, associated especially with Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82), Henry David Thoreau (1817-62), and subsequent liberal and Romantic thinkers. Their vision was stretched toward universalism by a vision of the Transcendent, which Emerson called the “unbounded, unboundable empire” underlying the whole universe which is, at the same time, the “one soul which animates all men.” Some would argue that this thinking came from their encounter with the sacred books of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions.


Abraham is the patriarch, acknowledged as the father of the lineage of faith by the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. He is presumed to have lived sometime in the period 2000-1700 BCE. He is the father of Isaac by Sarah (Genesis 12.25), and the “Friend of God” and Father of Ishmael by Hagar (Qur’an 37.83-113), and the exemplar of faith. (Galatians 3-4).


The congregational form of Protestant Christianity has traditionally affirmed the autonomy and authority of the local congregation in calling and ordaining its ministers and organizing its affairs. In the 17th century, the English Puritans introduced congregational polity into North America. The heirs of this polity today include the United Church of Christ (UCC).


A monastery is the residence of monks, or monastics; the term is commonly used in both the Christian and Buddhist traditions. Monasticism refers to the life of work, study, and discipline led by monks and nuns.


Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Since the 4th century this observance has been held on December 25 in the Western church.

Genesis, Book of

The first book of the Humash or Five Books of Moses, Genesis (or Bereishit, meaning ‘In the Beginning’) details the Jewish understanding of the creation of the universe, from the seven days of creation, through the Garden of Eden, ending with the events of Joseph and his brothers in Egypt (the fathers of the Twelve Tribes).


The Mennonite church is one of what are sometimes referred to as the “historic peace churches” because of its radical commitment to the pacifism and non-violence of Jesus’ teachings. It traces its origins to the Dutch reformer Menno Simon (1496-1561) who is one of the Anabaptists who rejected infant baptism in favor of the baptism of adult believers.


Protestant is a term used for the range of reform movements that broke with the Roman Catholic Church during the period called the Reformation. There are many branches of Protestantism, including the Lutherans, Anabaptists, Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians. While they differ in many respects from one another, they agree on the rejection of the papacy, reliance on the Bible more than church tradition, and justification before God by faith alone. The Protestant Reformation is a reform movement that began in the 16th century with Martin Luther in Germany and... Read more about Protestant


A cardinal is a high-ranking office in the Roman Catholic Church, conferred by the Pope and involving both ecclesiastical and administrative duties on behalf of the church. The College of Cardinals is charged with the responsibility of electing a new pope when the office becomes vacant.


The Greek word euangelion means “good news” and an evangelist is one who proclaims and shares the good news of Christ. Evangelism is the preaching and witnessing to that good news. Evangelicals are Christians who emphasize the personal experience of God’s grace and salvation in their lives and the affirm the divinely inspired message of scripture. While much of the history of American Christianity has been evangelical in this sense, the term today denotes a broadly conservative group of churches emphasizing the divinity and authority of scripture, and the importance of mission and... Read more about evangelism

Luther, Martin

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was the reformer who broke with the Roman Catholic Church and launched the German reformation. He denied the authority of the Pope and the church of Rome, emphasized the sole authority of the Bible, the priesthood of all believers, and salvation by faith alone.