What is the Episcopal Church?

The Episcopal Church owes its foundation to Jesus Christ.  It is organically related to the Church of England.  Christian missionaries arrived in England in the second century and planted the church there.  That early church affiliated with Rome beginning in the sixth century, when Augustine became the first archbishop of Canterbury.  When the English church severed its relationship with Rome in the sixteenth century, Protestant and Orthodox ideas were also incorporated into the English church.  The Church of England's faith is that of the earliest undivided Christian church, but practices and customs also incorporate ideas from more recent Christian movements.


Our tradition is a blending of evangelical and catholic (Eastern and Western ) Christianity in which Christians of all traditions may find a home and where each tradition enriches and fulfills the others.


The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, "a fellowship within the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church, of those duly constituted regional churches in communion with the see of Canterbury" in England.  We "uphold and propagate the catholic and apostolic faith and order as set forth in The Book of Common Prayer,...bound together not by a central authority, but by mutual bishops in conference."  Those words are from a resolution by the Lambeth Conference of 1930, a gathering of Anglican and Episcopal bishops from throughout the world.


What is the faith of the church?

The faith taught by Anglicans is none other than the Christian faith, no more and no less.  Nothing taught by Anglicans is peculiar to Anglicanism.  All teachings are those of the ancient and undivided church.


Christian doctrine, as taught by Anglicans, must conform to three criteria:  scripture, tradition, and reason.   No doctrine can be taught which is not at the same time scriptural, traditional, and reasonable.  Episcopalians must therefore know the Bible and the traditions and history of the church.  Especially important to Episcopalians is the Holy Bible.  No Episcopal priest may teach unbiblical doctrine, and no Episcopalian is required to believe anything except what is contained in the Bible.


The Christian faith is summarized in the two ancient and ecumenical creeds, the Nicene and the Apostles', which are the traditional standards of faith, second only to scripture, in the church. 


The above taken from The Episcopal Church Welcomes You by Forward Movement at 300 West Fourth Street, Cincinnati, OH  45202-2666.  1-800-543-1813  www.forwardmovement.org