There is great breadth of diversity in the Episcopal Church: congregations and congregants can be Anglo-Catholic, evangelistic, charismatic, conservative or liberal, and very often a mix of all of the above.
But first and foremost, Episcopalians are Christians. We believe God has created us, we proclaim and follow Jesus as Lord. We believe God is active in our day to day lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The church is the body of which Christ is the head and all baptized people are the members. The Church is a community of faith and commitment, not an organization like a club. We are part of the Anglican Communion, a fellowship of autonomous churches in communion with the Church of England.
All Anglican churches are drawn together by a common loyalty to:
• Scripture as the revealed Word of God;
• The historical Creeds of the Church as sufficient statements of Christian belief;
• The celebration of the seven sacraments of the Church with special emphasis on Baptism and Eucharist;
• The apostolic ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons in the life of teaching and service in the Church;
• The use of scripture, Church tradition, and reason in matters of belief and practice.
In worship, Episcopalians sit, kneel, stand, sing, pray aloud and pray silently. Some bow and make the sign of the cross; others don’t. We use the Book of Common Prayer, The Hymnal and (in many places) a service bulletin with the liturgy included. These tools are designed to help us worship and pray together, something very important to Anglican Christians.
Episcopal worship calls for the full participation of all the people. The Prayer Book (and the service bulletin) will guide you in what to do, what to say or sing. Our people are friendly and helpful. We have an open communion; those who are Baptised Christians may take Holy Communion.
Text courtesy of the Diocese of Southwest Florida and used with their permission.