What We Believe
All of these statements are heavily adapted from the Catechism found in the Book of Common Prayer 1979, pg 844.
We Are a Trinitarian People
God the Father
We believe in the Holy Trinity: one God in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This one loving God, the Father Almighty, created and sustains heaven and earth-- all that is, seen and unseen.
God the Son
We believe that Jesus is the only perfect image of God the Father, thereby showing us the nature of God which is love. By Jesus’s resurrection, Jesus overcame death and opened for us the way of eternal life. We proclaim this victory over sin and death every Sunday in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist (or “Thanksgiving”).
The Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit, which is the Third Person of the Trinity— God at work in the world and in the Church even now. We proclaim the Holy Spirit as the “giver of life” who spoke through the prophets and continues to speak to us today.
We Are a People in Need of Redemption
Sin and Redemption
We believe in sin, which we define as the seeking of our own will instead of the will of God. Sin distorts our relationship with God, other people, and all creation. Yet we also believe in redemption by which God sets us free from the power of evil, sin, and death. Through the ages, God has sent the prophets to call us back to himself, to show us our need for redemption, and to announce the coming of the Messiah, who is Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son of God. We live in the assurance that nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of God.
We Are a Scripture-Centered People
The Holy Scriptures
We believe that the Holy Scriptures (commonly called the Bible) include the books of the Old and New Testaments, as well as the Apocrypha. We believe that Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation, and that we understand the meaning of the Bible through the help of the Holy Spirit who guides the Church in the true interpretation of the Scriptures.
We Are a Priestly People
We are members of Christ’s body the Church, which continues in the fellowship and teaching of the apostles. We believe the mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ, and that all members of the Church are participants in this mission.
We believe in a threefold order of ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons. The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church. The duty of all Christians is to follow Christ; to come together week by week for corporate worship; and to work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God.
We Are a Sacramental People
A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. Though we hold to the traditional belief that there exists seven sacraments, we profess that two of these— Baptism and the Eucharist (Communion, or the Lord’s Supper)— stand above the rest as the two great sacraments that Christ gave to his Church in the Gospels. The other sacraments are confirmation, ordination, holy matrimony, reconciliation of a penitent (commonly called simply “confession”), and unction.
Baptism is the sacrament by which we are made members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the Kingdom of God. We believe in one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and recognize Baptisms from other denominations (so long as they were performed in the name of the Trinity) as valid.
Holy Eucharist is the sacrament commanded by Christ to remember his life, death, and resurrection, and that confers upon us a foretaste of the heavenly banquet to come, the forgiveness of our sins, and union with God. Celebrating the Eucharist is the principal act of worship in the Episcopal Church.
We Are a People of Hope
We proclaim the Mystery of Faith: that Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again.