What do we believe?
People ask this a lot, and the short answer is, we believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and we follow his two Great Commandments: "‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’" (Matthew 22:37-39) A longer answer can be found in the Book of Common Prayer, our foundational document. We think that praying shapes believing, so everything in the BCP contributes to who we are. The Catechism in the back provides a great summary! You can also listen to the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, as he describes what it means to be part of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. Being part of the Jesus Movement means being the hands and feet and heart of Jesus in the world today - loving without judgment, offering and accepting help, and respecting the dignity of every person.
The Episcopal Church grew out of the Anglican (Church of England) Church after the American Revolution. Our history shapes who we are today. The Church of England was born out of religious strife in the Reformation 400 years ago, specifically in England under Henry VIII. After years of violence and bloodshed over whose beliefs were correct, Queen Elizabeth I created what is called the "via media" or "middle way," which states that - as long as we pray together - we are free to believe in our hearts according to our conscience. She famously said that no one could make windows into people's souls, and the church should not try. We carry that belief in the middle way into today's world. That doesn't mean that we think everything is OK. We believe that love is the standard by which actions should be judged. We believe in seeing and serving Christ in every person. We believe in striving for justice and peace. We believe that every person shows us a tiny piece of God, in whose image we were all made. To be explicit, that means we welcome LGBTQ people, divorced people, single parents, people who've been in prison, people with no money and people with lots. We don't think being gay or trans is a sin. We think homophobia and transphobia are.
We welcome everyone to worship with us, to share their stories and their gifts with us as we share ours with them. It's a two-way street. We need you at least as much as you need us. We really mean it.