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Baptism – the Sacramental rite that admits someone into the Church. It involves immersion in water - though more often water is poured three times over the person’s head ‘In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’

Baptismal Promises – these are the promises made at our baptism. If a child is too young to make the promises themselves then they are made by the parents and godparents. Three promises are made. First, to renounce the devil and fight against evil. Second, to believe the Christian Faith and put our whole trust in Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Third, to obey God’s holy will and commandments and serve him faithfully all the days of our life.

Baptism of Jesus – this marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. We celebrate the Baptism of Christ in the Epiphany Season because, like the Epiphany, it is a manifestation or revelation of who Jesus is. At Jesus’ Baptism there is a voice from heaven, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.’

Baptist Church – a church whose distinguishing feature is that it does not believe in infant baptism. Only adults can be baptised and this is usually done by fully immersing the candidate in the water.

Beatitudes – These are Christ’s promise of blessings in the Sermon on the Mount (in Matthew 5:1-11) and the Sermon the Plain (in Luke 6:20-22). In Matthew they are more spiritual in nature, whereas in Luke they are related more to practical or social conditions. The Beatitudes describe the qualities expected of us as followers of Jesus. See also Sermon on the Mount

Benedict – Benedict (480 – 550) has been called the Father of Western Monasticism. Little is know about his life. He lived as a hermit for a while but he later founded a Religious Community (establishing twelve monasteries) and wrote a Rule of Life. He is a very influential figure for modern day Religious Orders

Benediction – there are two meanings to this word in Christian worship. The first is ‘Blessing.’ (See Blessing) The second refers to a liturgical devotion of the Reserved Sacrament. The Host (the bread of the Eucharist) is placed in an item called a Monstrance and is worshipped as the body of Christ and then the priest blesses the people by making the sign of the cross with the host. It is more common in the Roman Catholic Church, but is also a devotion in many areas of the Anglican Church. (See also Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Monstrance)

Benedictine – members of a Religious Order who follow the Rule of St Benedict.

Bible – The Bible is the record of God’s revelation of himself, through his people Israel, and above all, in his Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible was given to us by the Holy Spirit, who first inspired and guided the writers, and then led the church to accept their writing as Holy Scripture. The Bible is divided into two sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. There are 66 books in the Bible (39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament)

Bishops – the highest order of ministers in the Christian Church. The word bishop comes from the Greek word episcopus. Bishops are the successors of the Apostles. In addition to everything that priests do, they also are able to ordain and confirm.

Blessed Sacrament – a phrase used to describe the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ.

Blessed Virgin Mary – a title given to Mary, reflecting her blessedness as being chosen to be the mother of Jesus. It also refers to her being a Virgin when Jesus was conceived.

Blessing – a blessing is the declaration of God’s favour. God is the one who is fully blessed because he is full of goodness and it’s from him that we receive everything that’s good. In giving us his blessing, God is declaring his own goodness. In turn, we bless God by praising, thanking and worshipping him. When we bless others we call upon God’s help for them. We can also ask God to bless created things because through them God blesses human beings.

Book of the Gospels – this is a book of Gospel Readings used in the Eucharist. It’s carried in procession by the Deacon (or priest) at the beginning of the Eucharist. During the liturgy of the Word, the Deacon (or priest) carries the Book of the Gospels in procession to the lectern, where it is read. The book is often decorated.

Breaking of Bread – a phrase used to describe the Holy Eucharist. Also, it is a part of the Holy Eucharist accompanied by the singing or saying of ‘Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world’ when the bread of the Eucharist is broken in order to share. It follows the actions of Jesus at the last Supper who took bread, blessed it, broke it and shared it.