Scripture

We take the Bible very seriously, though not literally.  We believe in the divinely inspired written account of God’s relation to the world.  It is a book of truth, alive and relevant for us in our daily lives.

Tradition

We believe that Holy Scripture must be interpreted through the lens of the collective Christian wisdom – the Church – down through the ages.  Truth is best discerned in community, so we believe that coming together regularly to worship, study, and pray is the best way to discover the truth about God and the teachings of Jesus.

Reason

We think that our intellect and ability to reason is a God-given gift.  We do not check our brains at the door of the church.  Rather, we wrestle with our knowledge of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, seeking answers as we love one another.

What Do We Believe?

A good question.  Numerous books have been written on this subject.  Theology has been debated and authority has been called into question.  In a nutshell (if anyone can really do that!), the following points would give a very basic overview of what Episcopalians and the Episcopal Church is all about.

  • We believe in God, the Father
  • We believe in Jesus Christ, his Son
  • We believe in the Holy Spirit
  • We believe in love
  • We believe in forgiveness
  • We believe in freedom
  • We believe in listening
  • We are steeped in tradition, but not mired in it
  • We inherit history
  • We turn to the future

Tradition

We believe that Holy Scripture must be interpreted through the lens of the collective Christian wisdom – the Church – down through the ages.  Truth is best discerned in community, so we believe that coming together regularly to worship, study, and pray is the best way to discover the truth about God and the teachings of Jesus.

Our Worship

The Episcopal Church is a liturgical church which means that we share in a tradition of Christian worship which goes back to the early days of Christianity. Liturgy (from a Greek word meaning “the work of the people”) is not an end in itself but is important because it focuses our attention on God. In liturgical worship “we unite ourselves with others to acknowledge the holiness of God, to hear God’s Word, to offer prayer, and to celebrate the sacraments” (from “The Outline of Faith”, in The Book of Common Prayer, p. 857).

Common Prayer

We understand the worship of God to be not a time of entertainment or socializing but a time during which we come together to pray as God’s people. This is the meaning of common prayer; in worship we pray together as a Christian community. Here common means “together” not ordinary. For us, the whole worship service is an act of prayer. We offer to God our adoration, praise, and thanksgiving. We pray for the forgiveness of our sins. And we offer to God ourselves and the fruit of our labor as well as our intercessions for ourselves, the Church, and the world. In the context of common prayer we also hear the Word of God in Holy Scripture read and proclaimed.

Characteristics of Anglican Worship

While styles of worship vary from parish to parish, Anglican (Episcopal) worship has some readily identifiable characteristics. Our worship is grounded in Scripture. The Episcopal Church follows a three year lectionary, a three year cycle of appointed readings from Scripture (one from the Old Testament, one from a New Testament epistle, one from one of the four Gospels, and a psalm) assigned for each Sunday of the year. The purpose of the lectionary is to make sure that over a three year period about 75% of the whole Bible is read publicly in worship. What we hear read and proclaimed is not simply the priest’s favorite texts but a large portion of Scripture.