The Episcopal Church is one branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion numbering 60 million members in over 100 countries. It is often described as the bridge church because it includes both Catholic and Protestant traditions. It preserves the ancient Catholic faith and sacraments and the historic ministry with Bishops as its chief pastors. (“Episcopal” comes from the Greek word for “bishop.”) It is at the same time Protestant, focusing on the basic authority of Holy Scripture and a proclamation of the word of God.
What is the nature of the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church offers a thoughtful approach to religion. It believes the faith involves reason as well as emotion. Its doctrine is designed to point out, not dictate, the response to God’s continuing revelation. The focus is on God’s love and the invitation to respond in mature freedom, in thanksgiving, and in loving devotion. Basic beliefs are expressed in the Book of Common Prayer and especially the Catechism. The Episcopal Church teaches us that the approach to morality is positive rather than negative. It is rooted in Jesus’ summary of the law to love God with heart, mind, and soul and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. Its focus is not on laws and restrictions but on free and mature response to God’s love and in responsibility for our neighbors.
How do Episcopalians worship?
In worship we unite ourselves with others to acknowledge the holiness of God, to hear God’s Word, to offer prayer and praise, and to celebrate the sacraments. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist is the central act of worship in accordance with Jesus’ command to His disciples. Three books are used: act every service lessons are read from the Holy Bible; the service follows the Book of Common Prayer, which is composed of both ancient and modern liturgies and prayers; the Hymnal includes both traditional and contemporary church music. Episcopal services preserves the rich worship and tradition of the historic church. All present participate actively in this joyous response to God’s love.
What does being an Episcopalian mean?
It means actively participating through Christ’s church in the work of God
- In church services and parish programs
- In acts of charity and social justice
- In spreading the good news of Christ to other people
- In learning more about God and how he shares his love with us
- By giving of our means and talents to the greater purpose of God’s work.
The above text comes from the Web site of The Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real. Read more, in English and Spanish.
- The Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real
- The Santa Clara Valley Deanery
- Integrity Chapter of the Diocese of El Camino Real
- The Episcopal Church in the United States of America
- Anglicans Online, for links and resources covering the entire Anglican Communion
- Wondering just what it means to be Episcopalian/Anglican? Have a look at this section on Basics, at Anglicans Online