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What We Believe

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.

“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.

Bible
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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 prayer book, most recently revised in 1979, contains our liturgies, our prayers, our theological documents, and much, much more.

The baptismal covenant “is widely regarded as the normative statement of what it means to follow Christ” (p. 37, An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church); in these questions and answers, the congregation expresses the ways each of the faithful will live their faith both inside and outside the church walls. 

The first four questions are patterned on the Apostles’ Creed, with the liturgy’s celebrant asking the people about their beliefs in each of the members of the Trinity, along with a concise understanding of their natures. Following these questions, the covenant includes five questions regarding how we, as Christians, are called to live out our faith: with firm commitment and a reliance on God’s help. 

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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 essential truths of the Christian faith and how Episcopalians live those truths. It is also intentionally organized so as to “provide a brief summary of the Church’s teaching for an inquiring stranger who picks up a Prayer Book,” with headings such as Human Nature, God the Father, The Old Covenant, The Ten Commandments, Sin and Redemption, God the Son, The New Covenant, The Creeds, The Holy Spirit, The Holy Scriptures, The Church, The Ministry, Prayer and Worship, The Sacraments, Holy Baptism, The Holy Eucharist, Other Sacramental Rites, and The Christian Hope.

“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. 

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“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  

*The above is adapted from the Episcopal Church's website. For more information, visit: 

www.episcopalchurch.org/what-we-believe/

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