Stir Our Compassion

Stir Our Compassion

God, whose everlasting arms support the universe: We thank you for moving the heart of Lillian Trasher to heroic hospitality on behalf of orphaned children in great need, and we pray that More »

Shed Your Light On Those Who Love You

Shed Your Light On Those Who Love You

Judge eternal, throned in splendor, you gave Juan de la Cruz strength of purpose and mystical faith that sustained him even through the dark night of the soul: Shed your light on More »

We Pray For Illumination

We Pray For Illumination

Loving God, for the salvation of all you gave Jesus Christ as light to a world in darkness: Illumine us, with your daughter Lucy, with the light of Christ, that by the More »

Help Us Renounce Vanity

Help Us Renounce Vanity

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace gladly to renounce the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in More »

Help Us Live In Friendship

Help Us Live In Friendship

O God, the shepherd of all, we give you thanks for the lifelong commitment of your servant John Raleigh Mott to the Christian nurture of students in many parts of the world; More »

Grant That We May Show Our Faith

Grant That We May Show Our Faith

O God, who by the teaching of your faithful servant and bishop Remigius turned the nation of the Franks from vain idolatry to the worship of you, the true and living God, More »

Deliver Us From Worldliness

Deliver Us From Worldliness

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your More »

Help Us Follow You

Help Us Follow You

 We thank thee, heavenly Father, for the witness of your apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of your Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with More »

Pour Forth Your Holy Spirit

Pour Forth Your Holy Spirit

Almighty God, who called your faithful servants John Coleridge Patteson and his companions to be witnesses and martyrs in the islands of Melanesia, and by their labors and sufferings raised up a More »

Grant Us Concord

Grant Us Concord

Almighty God, who called your servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and gave him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, More »

 

Who We Are

The Episcopal Church, having its roots in the Church of England, is also an Anglican Church. Like all Anglican churches, the Episcopal Church is distinguished by the following characteristics:

Protestant, Yet Catholic
Anglicanism stands squarely in the Reformed tradition, yet considers itself just as directly descended from the Early Church as the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches. Episcopalians celebrate the “Mass” in ways similar to the Roman Catholic tradition, yet do not recognize a single authority, such as the Pope of Rome.

Worship in One’s First Language
Episcopalians believe that Christians should be able to worship God and read the Bible in their first language, which for most Episcopalians, is English, rather than Latin or Greek, the two earlier, “official” languages of Christianity. Yet the Book of Common Prayer has been translated into many languages, so that those Episcopalians who do not speak English can still worship God in their native tongue.

The Book of Common Prayer
Unique to Anglicanism, though, is the Book of Common Prayer, the collection of worship services that all worshipers in an Anglican church follow. It’s called “common prayer” because we all pray it together, around the world. The first Book of Common Prayer was compiled in English by Thomas Cranmer in the 16th Century, and since then has undergone many revisions for different times and places. But its original purpose has remained the same: To provide in one place the core of the instructions and rites for Anglican Christians to worship together.

The present prayer book in the Episcopal Church was published in 1979. Many other worship resources and prayers exist to enrich our worship, but the Book of Common Prayer is the authority that governs our worship. The prayer book explains Christianity, describes the main beliefs of the Church, outlines the requirements for the sacraments, and in general serves as the main guidelines of the Episcopal life.

Scripture, Tradition, and Reason
The Anglican approach to reading and interpreting the Bible was first articulated by Richard Hooker, also in the 16th Century. While Christians universally acknowledge the Bible (or the Holy Scriptures) as the Word of God and completely sufficient to our reconciliation to God, what the Bible says must always speak to us in our own time and place.

The Church, as a worshiping body of faithful people, has for two thousand years amassed experience of God and of loving Jesus, and what they have said to us through the centuries about the Bible is critical to our understanding it in our own context. The traditions of the Church in interpreting Scripture connect all generations of believers together and give us a starting point for our own understanding.

Episcopalians believe that every Christian must build an understanding and relationship with God”s Word in the Bible, and to do that, God has given us intelligence and our own experience, which we refer to as “Reason.” Based on the text of the Bible itself, and what Christians have taught us about it through the ages, we then must sort out our own understanding of it as it relates to our own lives.