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The Episcopal Church

What is an Episcopalian?

The Episcopal Church Way 

 As Episcopalians,  we believe in and follow the teachings of  Jesus Christ,  whose life,  death,  and resurrection 

 saved the world.  We believe that God loves you – no exceptions. The Episcopal  Church  embraces a legacy of

 inclusion,  aspiring to tell and exemplify  God’s  love for every human being;  people of all genders and sexual 

 orientations  serve  as  bishops,  priests,  and  deacons  in  our  church.  Laypeople   and  clergy  work  together                                      in leadership and governance.



                                             CORE TO OUR BELIEFS:

 Book of Common Prayer 
 ''It is a most invaluable part of that blessed liberty
where with Christ hath made us free, that in his worship different forms

 and usages may without offense be allowed, provided the substance of the Faith be kept entire” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 9). 

 The Book of Common Prayer is a treasure chest full of devotional and teaching resources for individuals and congregations,    

 but it is also the primary symbol of our unity. We, who are many and diverse, come together in Christ through our worship,

 our common prayer. 

 The Bible 
 “Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written
for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and

 inwardly digest them”  (Book of Common Prayer, p. 236).  

 The Bible is our foundation, understood through tradition and reason, containing all things necessary for salvation. Our

 worship is filled with Scripture from beginning to end. Approximately 70% of the Book of Common Prayer comes directly

 from the Bible. 

 Baptismal Covenant 
 “Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil and renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 292). 

 A mini-catechism used at baptisms and on Easter and other special occasions, the baptismal covenant opens with a

 question-and-answer version of the statement of faith that is the Apostles’ Creed and adds five questions regarding how

 we, as Christians, are called to live out our faith.  

The Catechism 
Offered in a question-and-answer format, the catechism found in the back of the Book of Common Prayer (pp. 845-862)

helps teach the foundational truths of the Christian faith. 

The Creeds 
“The Creeds are statements of our basic beliefs about God” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 851). 

In the two foundational statements of faith—the Apostles’ Creed used at baptism, and the Nicene Creed used at

communion—we join Christians throughout the ages in affirming our faith in the one God who created us, redeemed us,

and sanctifies us. 

The Sacraments 
“Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 857). 

Besides baptism and the Eucharist (Holy Communion), the church recognizes other spiritual markers in our journey of faith.  

Found in the Book of Common Prayer, these include: 

                                    -Confirmation (the adult affirmation of our baptismal vows), pp. 413-419  

                                    -Reconciliation of a Penitent (private confession), pp. 447-452 

                                    -Matrimony (Christian marriage), pp. 422-438 

                                    -Orders (ordination to deacon, priest, or bishop), pp. 510-555 

                                    -Unction (anointing with oil those who are sick or dying) pp. 453-467  



Bishop Michael Curry

At the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markel, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, described our church in this way: "Jesus began the most revolutionary movement in all of human history: a movement grounded in the unconditional love of God  for the world, a movement mandating people to live that love, and in so doing, to change not only their lives but the very life of the world itself." The Episcopal Church understands Christianity as a movement, a “Jesus Movement” whose aim is to follow the teaching and example of Jesus Christ through the practices of justice and compassion, love and service, reconciliation and worship. Our Presiding Bishop calls us the “Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement.” 

The Episcopal Church has a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being. Women and men serve as leaders at all levels of our church—as bishops, priests, deacons, and laypeople. Leadership is a gift from God and can be expressed by all people in our church regardless of age, gender, culture, race, sexual identity or orientation. We govern ourselves democratically as we discern God’s call to us as a church and as a movement, and we do our best to follow that call in word and deed. 

More Information

In this short video, Bishop Curry explains what he means.

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