What is the Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church is the American-branch of the Anglican Communion, a global network of churches joined together by common worship and historical unity with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Anglicans trace their theological and historical roots to the 4th century church in what is today England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and parts of France. Contrary to popular belief, the Episcopal Church/the Anglican Communion did not form as a result of King Henry VIII seeking divorce. Rather, Anglicanism emerged at the same time as Protestant Reformation during the 16th century, and was the formalization of an already distinct set of theology and governance.
The Episcopal Church was founded during the American Revolution of the 18th century. American Anglicans, now independent from Great Britain, wished to retain their tradition, while participating in a truly American religious experience. The hallmarks of Anglicanism, namely common worship and apostolic succession (an allegedly unbroken chain between the original Twelve Apostles and contemporary bishops), were retained, while British-specific customs, such as allegiance to the Crown, were discarded.
Today each member-church of the Anglican Communion is autonomous, regarding the Church of England merely as the “mother church.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, regarded as “first among equals,” is a symbol of unity and has no juridical authority over member-churches, including the Episcopal Church. Click to Learn More
What do Episcopalians believe?
Episcopalians do not universally hold to one particular doctrine or dogma. Rather, they are united around their belief in common worship. The Book of Common Prayer is the document unifying Episcopalians in every diocese and of every theological persuasion. As such, Episcopalians tend to emphasize the liturgy over other aspects of communal life, though not to the exclusion of all theology.
Episcopalians believe in the basic tenets of Christianity, especially as found in the historic Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. The Bible, for Episcopalians, is divinely inspired and the work of human beings. While Christians constantly seek the guidance of Scripture, it can only be fully understood in its historical context.
The Episcopal Church believes in the priesthood of all believers, although it maintains the historic pattern of ordained ministry: deacon, priest, and bishop. All three orders are open to persons of any gender identity and sexual orientation. The Episcopal Church considers itself to be somewhere between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, integrating the best of both traditions. As such, Episcopalians often describe their spirituality as the Media Via or the Middle Way.
Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE)
Some of our parishioners are associated with The Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE). The Union of Black Episcopalians is a confederation of more than 55 chapters and interest groups throughout the continental United States and the Caribbean. The Union also has members in Canada, Africa and Latin America.
The mission of UBE is to unite the diverse cultures, concerns and gifts of Black Episcopalians. This is done by providing preparation and encouragement for living the Baptismal Covenant and fully participating in the mission and governance of The Episcopal Church.
The Vision of UBE has multiple elements. One is to create awareness within young men and women of African descent about the clergy vocation. Another is to promote strong Lay Leadership among communities of African Descent within the Episcopal Church. Also, it strives to create a systematic approach of ensuring that Black congregations are sustainable and viable within their vineyards. And finally, it wishes to be a community of vigilance and action regarding matters of injustice, especially the effects of racism in the Church and society. Click to Learn More.
The Episcopal Asset Map
This is a website that offers an opportunity to share the ways that the Holy Spirit is moving through our Episcopal communities. That is, sharing ways that the Jesus Movement is active in our local communities through worship, ministry, and service. Simply find your Episcopal place on the map, click the “Update” button, and tell your story.
With the Episcopal Asset Map, our parishioners have the opportunity to tell the Church and the world about how the Episcopal Church of All Saints and Ascension is being called to serve God and neighbor. When you share your faith stories, worship styles, ministries, and more, you widen the network of ministry experts in the Church and provide others with information that can help them as they discern where the Spirit is calling.
Also, are you traveling and would like to check out other Episcopal Churches to visit? Then run a search on this site to find a church that matches your interest and itinerary. Visit episcopalassetmap.org.
NO GUN VIOLENCE! The Episcopal Church of All Saints and Ascension endorses this Missouri Diocesan Council’s position statement on SAFE GUN STORAGE: