About the Episcopal Church
Rev. Richard Sanders, Rector
For those unfamiliar with the Episcopal Church let me offer the following brief thoughts.
Our services are similar to Lutherans, Roman Catholics, and to some extent, Presbyterians and Methodists in that we use a printed book, The Book of Common Prayer, for worship. Extemporaneous or "pastoral prayers" are not normally part of our services. The Holy Communion or Lord's Supper or Holy Eucharist is the usual service on Sunday.
Our services are described as "liturgical" in that we include ceremony -- robes and vestments for participants; processions of worship leaders into and out of worship, usually led by a processional cross and torches; the use of a prescribed rotation of scripture readings in our worship. Individual congregations use more or less ceremony as local custom determines. The laity takes an active role in the leadership of public worship along with the clergy.
The theological foundation of the Episcopal Church could be described as encouraging a dynamic spiritual journey rather than providing absolute answers to life's questions. Consequently, you will find a wonderful variety of, (and occasionally contradictory), theological "positions" among Episcopalians. What unites us is not an adherence to an official position, but rather our commitment to live out our baptismal vows nurtured by joining each other at the communion rail each Sunday.
Most of us do not read or study Holy Scripture from a literal point of view.
Most of us believe that our "salvation" is a gift from God, delivered to all peoples and all of creation in some way by the death and resurrection of Jesus. We can neither earn nor lose that gift by how we lead our lives. We can only reject or ignore it.
If this "mini-overview" of Episcopalians and their Church intrigues you, I urge you to visit an Episcopal church near you. If you don't know where one is, check out the phone book, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and our Parish Administrator will help you. We have a list of all Episcopal churches and would be glad to help you locate one close to you.
What We Believe
By: Sheena Lawrence
We believe that all people are members of Christ's family and we strive to remember Christ's teaching, the first and greatest commandment is to love God and the second to love our neighbor. Due to a conscious effort to act with unconditional love for all people and exclude no one from the family of God, the Episcopal Church enjoys a membership of people from many diverse backgrounds. We believe this diversity adds strength and richness to our family.
The Episcopal Church teaches the Old and New Testament is the revealed Word of God and contains all things necessary for salvation. We believe all holy scriptures have been given for our instruction and should be studied for our benefit and salvation.
The Episcopal Church draws from a wealth of experience reaching back to the time of Christ. From these experiences come traditions that offer comfort and encouragement on many levels and help to sustain us as we seek an ever closer relationship with God.
We do not believe God's word has changed over the ages but we do believe our understanding of the Bible and our Traditions can change. We encourage people to think and study and use their ability to reason to find God's will and direction for their lives.
Scripture, tradition, and reason combine to form the foundation for all the teachings of the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church does not put forth a long list of "dos" and "don'ts" and Episcopalians disagree on many issues. We do, however, all agree that our salvation comes through the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that we should reach out to all God's children with the same unconditional love God has given us. We believe this love is strong enough to bind us together, in Christ, even if we disagree on lesser issues.