does the Episcopal Church believe?
The Episcopal Church is
the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion
We worship formally but joyfully, and we have bishops who are the
senior pastors for a large area called a diocese. A local
congregation is typically led by a priest who works with a group of lay
leaders called the vestry. The word
"episcopate" means "office of bishop," and so the role of the bishop is
important to who we are. St. Elizabeth's is in the Diocese of Northern Indiana, and our
Bishop is the Right Reverend Edward S. Little.
The Episcopal Church has familiar forms of worship found in the Book of Common Prayer, and so if
you visit another Episcopal church, you will recognize the liturgy. You
might think that if we can agree on liturgy from one congregation to
another, we also have a common set of social and political views, but
this is not the case. There are those who disagree in our pews.
On certain points however, we agree. We believe that Holy Scripture is
the revealed Word of God
and contains everything necessary for salvation. To understand the
Bible, we rely on "the help of the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church
interpretation of the Scriptures." In terms of doctrine, we believe
that the Nicene Creed is a sufficient statement of the Christian faith.
The Episcopal Church is also a sacramental church. We understand that
"[t]he sacraments are
outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace." Episcopalians
believe that Holy
Baptism and the Holy Eucharist are sacraments, and they are part of
every Christian believer's experience. In the Episcopal Church, any
baptized Christian may receive Holy
Christians experience God's grace in many ways however. The Episcopal
Church formally recognizes five other sacramental rites. They are
confirmation, ordination, holy matrimony,
of a penitent (confession), and unction (anointing of the sick). We
believe these are consistent with the teaching and
traditions of the Church, although they are not "Sacraments of the
Gospel" since they were not directly instituted by Christ. These last
five sacramental rites are not required for salvation, and God's grace
is present in our lives outside these sacraments.
(Quotations are taken from the section "An Outline of the Faith" from
the Book of Common Prayer pp.
846 - 862. This is a good resource in general if you have more