Trinity Episcopal Church, Milford, MA Sharing the Grace of God, the Light of Christ and the Power of the Holy Spirit,
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What is an Episcopalian? What is the Episcopal Church?

Hint: "Episcopal" means "governed by bishops."

The Episcopal Church:

  • is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and is in union with Anglican/Episcopal churches with of more than 70 million members worldwide.
  • has historic roots in the Church of England.
  • Is both "catholic" and "reformed/protestant."

The Episcopal Church is:

  • one (united by faith)
  • holy (called by Christ)
  • catholic (for all people)
  • apostolic (following in the apostles' footsteps)

The Episcopal Church is:

  • catholic: we follow many of the traditions and doctrines of the believing community throughout the centuries.
  • reformed/protestant: we have changed and reformed to meet the needs of people and effectively proclaim the message of Jesus Christ in each generation.

The Episcopal Church is:

  • a scripture-based church: the Holy Bible is accepted as containing God's message.
  • a creed-based church: the statements of faith (creeds) of the undivided early church are affirmed.
  • a sacrament-based church: the outward and visible signs of God's inward and spiritual grace given to his people are celebrated, especially in Baptism and Holy Communion, and also in confirmation, penance, matrimony, ordination and healing/anointing.
  • a ministry-based church: each member is called to his/her ministry in life within the biblical orders of bishops, priests, deacons and laity.

The Episcopal Church is based on:

  • Scripture: the Word of God found in the Bible.
  • Tradition: the Church guided by the Holy Spirit.
  • Reason: God's people unfolding God's truths.

The Episcopal Church is:

  • Trinitarian: we believe that our one God has been revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • salvation oriented: we believe God, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, has called believers to salvation — eternal unity with God.
  • a faith community: we believe the Holy Spirit calls believers into the community of faith — the church.
  • worship oriented: we believe all God's people need to gather regularly to praise God and be surrounded by the believing community.

The Episcopal Church is:

Biblical and historic in the leadership it has maintained unbroken through the centuries —

  • Bishops: oversee the larger community of faith, called a diocese, consisting of many parishes. They have been ordained by other bishops in an unbroken chain back to the first apostles.
  • Priests: local parish leaders ordained by a bishop to be pastors, preachers and to celebrate the sacraments.
  • Deacons: are ordained by a bishop and assist priests in the hands-on ministry of the church.
  • Religious orders: are groups of men and women who take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and commit their lives to service.
  • Laity: our members to seek to follow God and know his will in their lives.

The Episcopal Church is:

  • A welcoming church: all who seek God are welcome.
  • A diverse church: our members come from all races, groups and religious backgrounds and represent a broad spectrum of opinion, belief and practice.

The Episcopal Church is:

  • Old: many of our church buildings date back to the colonial era and many have been the spiritual homes to generations of believers.
  • New: as the Holy Spirit moves among us we are ever-changing, growing in Christ, and joyfully welcoming new people into our midst.