What is an Episcopalian?
We're a group of Jesus-followers who value a wholehearted way of living for God that understands his call to love our neighbors means we are connected to each other and all of his creation - what we do and how we act matters to everyone else, and everything else, and especially to the Lord. We welcome all people everywhere, and we believe God wants a transforming relationship with everyone, wherein we are forgiven our sins by his son's sacrifice for us. Our mission as the Church is to invite everyone into that relationship with God, to build up and equip them, and each other, to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
The word "Episcopal" means we have a church governance structure that includes bishops, Bishops continue the work of the first Apostles, guarding the faith, unity, and discipline of the church and ordaining men and women to serve as clergy, either priests or deacons, to support the rest of our members in continuing Christ's ministry. An Episcopalian is a person belonging to the Episcopal Church, the United States branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. We walk the "via media," or "middle way" between Protestant and Catholic traditions, and believe that, whether or not we agree on a particular topic, we are all children beloved by God and we can have thoughtful and respectful discussions about those beliefs as we love God, worship, and work together. We love this our in seeking to partner in ministry with our fellow community churches and organizations.
As Episcopalians, we believe:
- The Holy Scriptures are the revealed word of God, who inspired the human authors of Scripture, and is interpreted by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The official translation used in our worship services is the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version), and we had a big part in creating a new translation, the CEB (Common English Bible), which uses even more modern language. We believe that it isn't the translation you use that matters, as much as it is the time you spend in God's word, for helping us live and thrive for God in this difficult world. https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/New-Revised-Standard-Version-NRSV-Bible/
- The Nicene Creed is our basic statement of belief about God. The early Christian church founders adopted the creed in the 4th Century, Episcopal and Anglican churches around the world use it, and we say it together every Sunday. http://www.creeds.net/ancient/nicene.htm
- The two great sacraments of the Gospel, which Jesus gave to the Church, are Baptism and Holy Eucharist. In Baptism we become Christians, members of the family of God, the Holy Spirit acting in us to cleanse us from our sin and bring us into a right relationship with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. In Holy Eucharist (The word "Eucharist" comes from the Latin and Greek words meaning " thanksgiving"), also known as Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper, we follow the command of Jesus before his death and resurrection to take bread and wine in remembrance of his sacrifice for us. In keeping Holy Eucharist as the center of our worship life, we remember and participate in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ until he comes again. We believe Jesus will come again at God's appointed time to restore us and all Creation to his perfect design, and that the work toward that restoration began with Jesus' human ministry, the beginning of his Kingdom on earth, and continues through all Christian ministry until he returns.
- The teachings and beliefs of the Episcopal Church are explained further in our "Outline of the Faith," a Q&A format called the catechism, available at: http://www.bcponline.org