What is the Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church is the American expression of the Church of England. It is a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is an international association of churches in full communion with the Church of England. The word Episcopal means “governed by bishops”. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is composed of more than forty different churches (including the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.). Our church is under the authority of the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona.
How diverse is the Episcopal Church? Episcopalians come from every race and culture. The worldwide Anglican Communion is composed of about 85 million people, worshiping in 165 countries around the world. There are Anglicans on every continent.
Is your church Protestant or Catholic? The Episcopal Church represents a “middle way” between Protestantism and Catholicism. Anglicans participated in the necessary reforms of the Church in the 16th century. However, we attempt to follow the ancient, apostolic Church’s organizational pattern, with local or national congregations organized under the rule of their own bishops.
What does the Episcopal Church believe? Like Christians everywhere, we believe in Jesus Christ, as expressed in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. We believe in the Holy Scriptures, understood through reason and tradition. We believe that the Sacraments, including Baptism and Holy Communion, are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace. These beliefs are held in common by Episcopalians, but the Church also values intellectual freedom and individual conscience in matters of faith.
What are worship services like? Our worship services are liturgical, which means they follow a set pattern of prayers, readings, and responses from week to week from forms found in the The Book of Common Prayer. We actively participate in worship with these prayers and responses. You will notice that people sit, stand, or kneel at different times. This might be new to you, but over time we hope it will become familiar and comforting. We always celebrate Communion at our weekly worship services.
What is the Book of Common Prayer? The Book of Common Prayer, our guide to worship, is a collection of ancient and modern prayers for public worship and private devotions. It was produced in 1549 to allow the people of England to participate in worship services in their own language, rather than Latin. It is also a treasured literary masterpiece–one of the greatest books ever published in the English language. Each Church (including the Episcopal Church) of the Anglican Communion uses its own adaption of the Prayer Book.
Where can I find more information on the beliefs and practices of the Episcopal Church? Most of this information comes from The Episcopal Church. You can find much more on their site http://www.episcopalchurch.org. You may visit the site of The Episcopal Church in Arizona at www.azdiocese.org.
Of course, the best way to find out what we’re like is to visit us for worship services at Resurrection on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. We gather at 1159 N. Greenfield, Gilbert, AZ 85234. We’d love to meet you!