What is The Episcopal Church?
We are Christians:
- We follow the teachings of Jesus, the Christ, God’s Word born into the world to teach us to live lives of self-sacrificial love for one another.
- Although there are many spiritual paths in the world, we follow Jesus of Nazareth, who is the path of wisdom and the teacher of how to live in the world and in the presence of God.
We are both Catholic and Protestant:
- We trace our roots to the reformation of the English church in the early 1500’s. The reformers translated the Bible and the Prayer Book into the language of the people, entrusting us with a responsibility to hear, read, study, and take to heart the Bible and the Prayer Book.
- We descend from the Church of England, which maintained many Catholic traditions, especially in worship, in its own English Reformation.
We discern truth via scripture, tradition and reason:
- We seek answers to questions of faith by searching the Holy Scripture.
- We also look for guidance from the traditional teachings of the Church fathers and mothers who struggled with many of the same questions that we still have as human persons.
- God has given us the ability to reason as we engage our questions about the Holy Scripture and Church Tradition. Our reason is influenced by both our minds and hearts.
We are a Bible Church (but we are not biblical literalists):
- A minimum of 2-3 readings from the Holy Scripture are proclaimed at every Episcopal worship service.
- Episcopalians are encouraged to read the scripture every day. Our tradition of reading and praying through the Bible every year is called the Daily Office. This spiritual practice dates to the early church. We are also encouraged to study the bible together and by ourselves.
- We are not biblical literalists. In our study, we engage the scripture at three levels:
1. The Story in its historical context;
2. How the Story was heard by the faith community to whom it was written; and
3. How the Story speaks to us today. Without understanding the historical context in which the Story was written, we believe we can misinterpret it and miss important teachings.
We are a sacramental church:
- From the Catholic tradition, we retained the belief that our life as a faith community is centered around the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Eucharist (Communion).
- We also have continued the tradition of the other sacramental acts of Confirmation, Unction (for Healing), Marriage, Reconciliation, and Holy Orders.
We are lay ministers, deacons, priests, and bishops:
- We believe all followers of Jesus are ministers who are called to serve Christ in the world.
1. Lay ministers take the teachings of Jesus into their workplaces, their homes and their communities.
2. Deacons work among and call us all into a life of service to the poor and those at the margins of society.
3. Priests are to teach and preach the Bible and celebrate the sacraments.
4. Bishops are the overseers of a cluster of churches. Our Bishop leads all the churches in the Diocese of Washington.
Our mission is to bring about the Kingdom of God on this Earth by following Jesus’ Great Commission:
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”(Luke 4:18-19).
As Jesus body in the world, we dedicate our lives to his mission of love and restoration for the whole world.
We are members of the Worldwide Anglican Communion:
- We are in communion with Anglican churches throughout the world. We share in God’s Mission to the world by working together:
1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
2. To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
3. To respond to human need by loving service
4. To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth