What is an Episcopal Church?

The Episcopal Church began as the American Colonial branch of the Church of England. It is now an autonomous province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion has spread well beyond its English roots, with about 70-80 million members in countries circling the globe. The word “Episcopal” comes from the Greek word episkopos, which means “overseer” or bishop. We are a branch of Christianity, guided by our bishops, and served by our priests and deacons who support the work and witness of the majority of our ministers, the baptized members of our church.

The Episcopal Church has members in the United States, as well as in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela, the Virgin Islands, and the Convocation of Churches in Europe.

Jesus taught us that God’s deepest hope for us is that we would love God and love our neighbors (Matt. 22:37-40). In Jesus, we have found forgiveness for sins, which are the ways in which we fall short of the mark set by God. We seek to live into that forgiveness we have been given by being open and loving communities of faith. It’s a lofty goal, and when we fall short, we still have the love of God supporting us as we attempt to change to be more Christ like in our words and actions.

Our Worship
As a church, we emphasize the mystery of encountering God in worship. In our worship we use the Book of Common Prayer, which was created in the 1500s from Latin medieval liturgies and new prayers crafted at the time of the Reformation. Our prayer book is filled with the beautiful language of well thought out and oft-prayed prayers that have sustained believers through the centuries. The hymns we sing will be familiar to many who grew up in the church, no matter the denomination.

The principal service on Sunday is Holy Communion (also called “Eucharist” which is the Greek word for Thanksgiving), which is offered each week focusing our worship on Christ’s presence in our midst. We follow the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), a pattern of readings for each Sunday, which has us reading through much of the Bible in our common worship in a three-year cycle. Preaching and teaching the Word of Scripture are crucial features of Anglicanism, and so The Episcopal Church.

We believe all people are called to be ministers and to serve God, his Church and the community in which they live. The Episcopal Church views lay people as well as the ordained clergy as ministers, who represent Christ and His Church, bearing witness to Him wherever they may be, and, according to the gifts given them, carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world, taking their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church. Our Bishop, the Rt Revd Scott Anson Benhase, has the ministry of oversight and serves as chief pastor of the diocese. Priests offer sacramental ministry within the church, pastoring a given congregation or ministry. Deacons have a servant ministry focused on taking the church to the world and bringing the needs of the world to the church.

Join us for worship and experience what we believe as we hear scripture read and commented on, pray together and get nourished by Jesus presence in our midst in word and sacraments.