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Encyclopedia > Laity

In religious organizations, the laity comprises all lay persons collectively. This can mean either any person who is not a member of the clergy or of any monastic order or, within such an order, a monastic who is not a priest (c.f., lay brother). In recent centuries, the term is often used more generally, in the context of any specialized profession, to refer to those who are not members of that profession. Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. ... Monasticism (from Greek: monachos—a solitary person) is the religious practice of renouncing all worldly pursuits in order to fully devote ones life to spiritual work. ... Monasticism (from Greek: monachos—a solitary person) is the religious practice of renouncing all worldly pursuits in order to fully devote ones life to spiritual work. ... Roman Catholic priest LCDR Allen R. Kuss (USN) aboard USS Enterprise A priest or priestess is a holy man or woman who takes an officiating role in worship of any religion, with the distinguishing characteristic of offering sacrifices. ... Lay brothers are Catholic religious occupied solely with manual labour and with the secular affairs of a monastery or friary. ... A profession is a specialized work function within society, generally performed by a professional. ...

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Christian laity

Episcopal Church

In the Episcopal Church the laity can have say in legislation. At General Convention up to four lay persons from each diocese is elected to represent the diocese in the House of Deputies, one of the two governmental houses in the Episcopal Church. On the local parish level, lay persons are elected to a church council called a vestry. The word episcopal is derived from the Greek επισκοπος epískopos, which literally means overseer; the word, however, is used in religious contexts to refer to a bishop. ... The General Convention of The Episcopal Church takes place every three years, and it the way legislation is passed in the Episcopal Church. ... Pope Pius XI blesses Bishop Stephen Alencastre as fifth Apostolic Vicar of the Hawaiian Islands in a Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace window. ... A parish is a type of administrative subdivision. ... A vestry is a room within or attached to a church which is used to store vestments and other items used in worship. ...


Roman Catholicism

In previous years the laity had a much smaller role in the work of the Catholic Church. In the past, Church leaders felt that the role of the laity was little more than to "Pray, Pay, and Obey." The old Code of Canon Law defined them negatively: they are not clerics. The Roman Catholic Church believes its founding was based on Jesus appointment of Saint Peter as the primary church leader, later Bishop of Rome. ...


Second Vatican Council was a big step forward when it taught that the laity's specific character is secularity, i.e. as Christians who live the life of Christ in the world, their role is to sanctify the created world by directing it to become more Christian in its structures and systems: "It belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in the affairs of the world and directing them according to God's will," stated the Council in "Lumen Gentium." The laity are full members of the Church, who fully share in Church's purpose of sanctification, of "inner union of men with God," (CCC 775) acting with freedom and personal responsibility and not as mere agents of the hierarchy. Due to their baptism, they are members of God's family, the Church, and they grow in intimate union with God, "in" and "by means" of the world. It is not a matter of departing from the world as the monks and the nuns do that they sanctify themselves; it is precisely through the material world sanctified by the coming of the God made flesh, i.e. made material, that they reach God. Doctors, mothers of a family, farmers, bank tellers, drivers, by doing their jobs in the world with a Christian spirit are already extending the Kingdom of God. According to the repeated statements of Popes and lay Catholic leaders, the laity should say "we are the Church," in the same way that the saints said that "Christ lives in me." The Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, was an Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church opened under Pope John XXIII in 1962 and closed under Pope Paul VI in 1965. ... Baptism is a water purification ritual practiced in certain religions such as Christianity, Mandaeanism, and Sikhism, and has its origins with the Jewish ritual of mikvah. ...


The role of the laity in the Church was also expanded to include lay ministers of various kinds. Also, as a result of the priest shortage, members of the laity have had to take on some of the roles previously performed by priests. Unlike in several Protestant churches, in the Roman Catholic Church the term minister is not commonly used to refer to a member of the clergy nor as a common term of address. ...


The Lay Preacher in the Wesleyan / Methodist tradition

A very early tradition of preaching in the Wesleyan / Methodist churches was for a Lay Preacher to be appointed to lead services of worship and preach in a group (called a 'circuit') of meeting places or churches. The lay preacher walked or rode on horseback in a prescribed circuit of the preaching places according to an agreed pattern and timing, and people came to the meetings. After the appointment of ministers and pastors, this lay preaching tradition continued with these people being appointed by individual churches, and in turn approved and invited by nearby churches, as an adjunct to the minister or during their planned absences.


In the Uniting Church in Australia, that was constitued in part from the Methodist Church, persons can be appointed: Logo of the UCA The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) was formed on June 22, 1977 when the Methodist Church of Australasia, Presbyterian Church of Australia and Congregational Union of Australia came together under the Basis of Union document. ... The United Methodist Church is the largest Methodist denomination, and the second-largest Protestant one, in the United States. ...

  • by the congregation as a Lay Preacher; and/or
  • by the regional Presbytery to conduct Communion.

Arguably the most famous Wesleyan Lay Preacher currently active is King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV of Tonga. The Eucharist is the rite that Christians perform in fulfillment of Jesus instruction, recorded in the New Testament, to do in memory of him what he did at his Last Supper. ... King Taufaahau Tupou IV His Majesty King Taufaahau Tupou IV (born July 4, 1918) has been the king of Tonga since the death of his mother Salote Tupou III in 1965. ...


The comparable term in the Anglican / Episcopal churches is "Lay Reader".


Buddhist lay persons

Layer Buddhists performing a short chanting ceremony at Three Ancestors Temple, Anhui Province, China
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Layer Buddhists performing a short chanting ceremony at Three Ancestors Temple, Anhui Province, China

In Buddhism there is also a dichotomy between laity and monastic/clergy. The structures and dynamics of this situation should provide interesting and instructive commentary on the Christian phenomena of the clergy/laity split/organization. In Chinese Buddhism, there are usually laypersons, who are depicted wearing a black robe and sometimes a brown sash, denoting that they received the five precepts. Download high resolution version (1632x1224, 894 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (1632x1224, 894 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Anhui (Chinese: 安徽; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: An-hui; Postal System Pinyin: Ngan-hui, Anhwei or An-hwei) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China. ... A replica of an ancient statue of Gautama Buddha, found from Sarnath, near Varanasi Buddhism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, a prince of the Shakyas, whose lifetime is traditionally given as 566 to 486 BCE. Buddhism gradually spread from India... This article is about the Buddhist concept; see Pancasila Indonesia for the Indonesian state philosophy. ...


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Laity (2902 words)
The laity are the members of this society who remain where they were placed by baptism, while the clergy, even if only tonsured, have been raised by ordination to a higher class, and placed in the sacred hierarchy.
But the laity are not the depositaries of spiritual power; they are the flock confided to the care of the shepherds, the disciples who are instructed in the Word of God, the subjects who are guided by the successors of the Apostles towards the last end, which is eternal life.
Considered from the standpoint of the laity, this recourse to the ministry of the clergy is sometimes obligatory and sometimes optional, according to circumstances.
BIGpedia - Laity - Encyclopedia and Dictionary Online (423 words)
At General Convention up to four lay persons from each diocese is elected to represent the diocese in the House of Deputies, one of the two governmental houses in the Episcopal Church.
In previous years the laity had a much smaller role in the work of the Catholic church.
Also, as a result of the priest shortage, members of the laity have had to take on some of the roles previously performed by priests.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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