What We Believe

What We Believe

Welcome to The Episcopal Community. We are a members of the Episcopal Church that is part of the World-wide Anglican Communion of Churches numbering 70 million people in 38 provinces worldwide. We are followers of Jesus Christ, and as Anglicans trace our origins back to Christ and His apostles. As Anglican Christians, we look to the Scripture first as the authority over the church, tradition (the practices and writings of the historical church) and reason, for allowing continued development of doctrine. We regard the Bible, the three Creeds (Nicene Creed, Apostles’ Creed and Athanasian Creed), the Thirty-Nine Articles and the Book of Common Prayer (based on Scripture) as the principal statements of the Anglican doctrine.

 The 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.

 

Celebrant: Do you believe in God the Father?
People: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
Celebrant: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
People: I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Celebrant: Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
People: I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Celebrant: Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
People: I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant: Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
People: I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant: Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
People: I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant: Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
People: I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant: Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
People: I will, with God’s help.

(Book of Common Prayer, pp. 304-305)

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). 
It is our foundation, understood through tradition and reason, containing all things necessary for salvation. Our worship is filled with Scripture from beginning to end.

The Book of Common Prayer

“It is a most invaluable part of that blessed ‘liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,’ that in his worship different forms and usages may without offence 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 Catechism

“It is a commentary on the creeds, but is not meant to be a complete statement of belief and practices; rather, it is a point of departure for the teacher” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 844).

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).

We will always have questions, but 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.

Holy Baptism

“Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 298).

In the waters of baptism we are lovingly adopted by God into God’s family, which we call the Church, and given God’s own life to share and reminded that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ.

The Rite of Holy Baptism can be found on pp. 297-308 of the Book of Common Prayer.

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

We will always have questions, but 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.

Holy Communion

“We thank you … for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of your Son, and heirs of your eternal kingdom” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 366).It goes by several names: Holy Communion, the Eucharist (which literally means “thanksgiving”), mass. But whatever it’s called, this is the family meal for Christians and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. As such, all persons who have been baptized, and are therefore part of the extended family that is the Church, are welcome to receive the bread and wine, and be in communion with God and each other.The Holy Eucharist can be found on pp. 316-399 of the Book of Common Prayer.

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. These include:

  • Confirmation (the adult affirmation of our baptismal vows), pp. 413-419, Book of Common Prayer
  • Reconciliation of a Penitent (private confession), pp. 447-452, Book of Common Prayer
  • Matrimony (Christian marriage),  pp. 422-438, Book of Common Prayer
  • Orders (ordination to deacon, priest, or bishop), pp. 510-555, Book of Common Prayer
  • Unction (anointing with oil those who are sick or dying) pp. 453-467, Book of Common Prayer

These help us to be a sacramental people, seeing God always at work around us.