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ministry

[min-uh-stree] /ˈmɪn ə stri/
noun, plural ministries.
1.
the service, functions, or profession of a minister of religion.
2.
the body or class of ministers of religion; clergy.
3.
the service, function, or office of a minister of state.
4.
the body of ministers of state.
5.
(usually initial capital letter) any of the administrative governmental departments of certain countries usually under the direction of a minister of state.
6.
(usually initial capital letter) the building that houses such an administrative department.
7.
the term of office of a minister of state.
8.
an act or instance of ministering; ministration; service.
9.
something that serves as an agency, instrument, or means.
Origin
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English < Latin ministerium, equivalent to minister minister + -ium -ium
Related forms
preministry, noun, plural preministries.
pseudoministry, noun, plural pseudoministries.
underministry, noun, plural underministries.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for preministry

ministry

/ˈmɪnɪstrɪ/
noun (pl) -tries
1.
  1. the profession or duties of a minister of religion
  2. the performance of these duties
2.
ministers of religion or government ministers considered collectively
3.
the tenure of a minister
4.
  1. a government department headed by a minister
  2. the buildings of such a department
Word Origin
C14: from Latin ministerium service, from minister servant; see minister
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for preministry

ministry

n.

late 14c., "function of a priest," from Old French menistere "service, ministry; position, post, employment," and directly from Latin ministerium "office, service, attendance, ministry," from minister (see minister (n.)). Began to be used 1916 as name of certain departments in British government.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for preministry

ministry

in Christianity, the office held by persons who are set apart by ecclesiastical authority to be ministers in the church or whose call to special vocational service in a church is afforded some measure of general recognition. The type of ministry varies in the different churches. That which developed in the early church and is retained by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Old Catholic, Anglican, and some Protestant churches is episcopal (see episcopacy) and is based on the three orders, or offices, of bishop, priest, and deacon.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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