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Glossary of Terms

This glossary gives brief explanation to some terms used in this website for the benefit of anyone who is not familiar with the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui. The explanations are given in the context of the Anglican church in Hong Kong and may not have universal application.


The Archbishop is elected among bishops by the Electoral College of the Province. He is the spiritual and moral leader of the Church. He represents the Province as the Primate of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui in the Anglican Communion.


He is a senior clergy who is appointed to assist the bishop to deal with administrative and ecclesiastical matters in the diocese. In particular, he is the head deacon and supervises clergy within the diocese.


The bishop is elected among the clergy by the Diocesan Synod. He is the spiritual leader of the diocese and oversees the ministry of the churches within the diocese.

Currently, there are three diocesan bishops in the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, respectively representing the Diocese of Hong Kong Island, Diocese of Eastern Kowloon and Diocese of Western Kowloon.


A canon may refer to a rule governing the internal organization of a Diocese or Province. When referring to a person, it is an honorary title given to clergy or lay persons to honour their special contributions to the Diocese or Province.


The church of a Diocese where the bishop is enthroned on his appointment in which he has his "cathedra" or seat.


Clergy is a general term for ordained persons in the Church.


Deacon is a clergy who assists the bishop and priests in worship and in the ministration of God's Word and Sacraments, and to carry out duties in serving those in need.


A dean is a clergy who heads a cathedral chapter and is responsible for the affairs of the cathedral.


A diocese comprises of parishes and mission churches in a specific geographical area supervised by a bishop.


It is a more formal term for Holy Communion service which means thanksgiving. Please see

General Synod

It is the highest governing executive body in the Province. It comprises of three houses: the House of Bishop, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity. The House of Bishop comprises all active diocesan bishops of the Province. The members of the House of Clergy and House of Laity are delegates from the dioceses and missionary area of the Province elected by their respective diocesan synod or council of missionary area. The General Synod generally meets once every three years.

Holy Communion

Please see


This term is usually used to represent the members of the Church who are not ordained. Apart from attendance at services, the laity generally contributes to the church by serving in a range of tasks related to the ministry of the church.

Missionary Area

It is a geographical area in the Province which has specific vision for missionary work. A missionary area may be developed into a diocese.

Mission Church

A mission church is a congregation with less than 50 members which is financially supported by the diocese and ministered by a priest-in-charge.


The parish system is an organization of churches by geographical area in the diocese. A parish is a church with not less than 50 members and ministered by a priest who is also known as the "Vicar" of the parish.


A province is a self-governing church comprising of dioceses under one constitution with one legislative body. The Province of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui was established by legislation under the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Ordinance in Hong Kong. It is governed by the constitutions and canons adopted by the General Synod.

The Province of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui comprises of the Diocese of Hong Kong Island, Diocese of Eastern Kowloon, the Diocese of Western Kowloon and the Missionary Area of Macau.

Synod (or Diocesan Synod)

The term generally refers to the Diocesan Synod. It is made of clergy and laity representatives elected from the parishes and mission churches. It is the highest governing body in the diocese under its constitutions and canons. Generally, it meets once every two years to deal with ecclesiastical matters affecting the diocese.


It is a body of laity elected by the registered members of the parish to assist the vicar to deal with matters related to the parish church.