The Episcopal Faith

About the Episcopal Faith

Section overview here; for find-ability and SEO.

The word “episcopal” refers to governance by bishops. The historic episcopate (bishops) continues the work of the first apostles in the Church: guarding the faith, unity and discipline of the Church, and ordaining men and women to continue Christ’s ministry.  An Episcopalian is a person who belongs to The Episcopal Church, which encompasses churches in the United States and 16 countries. 

What to expect

What to Expect When You Visit an Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Texas. One of the great aspects of Texas in general is the enormous variety of peoples and cultures to be found. This is reflected, not only in the membership of our Episcopal churches, but in the richly diverse ways in which our members worship each Sunday and on special occasions throughout the year.

Episcopal Beliefs

The word “episcopal” refers to governance by bishops. The historic episcopate (bishops) continues the work of the first apostles in the Church: guarding the faith, unity and discipline of the Church, and ordaining men and women to continue Christ’s ministry.An Episcopalian is a person who belongs to The Episcopal Church, which encompasses churches in the United States and 16 countries.

Book of Common Prayer

The Episcopal Church celebrates diversity of people and worship styles, yet all worship follows the form set out in the Book of Common Prayer. We are known for our engaging and beautiful worship services. For those who have grown up Roman Catholic, the service, known as the Mass, Eucharist or Holy Communion, will be familiar. For those of reformed tradition or those with no religious tradition, we think you may find a spiritual home in a church that respects its tradition and maintains its sense of awe and wonder at the power and mystery of God.

The Sacrements

In the Episcopal Church we take part in certain regular acts of worship. These are called sacraments or reenactments of Christ’s ministries on earth. The two primary sacraments are Baptism and Holy Communion. We believe that God is actively present in the world and in us. In the sacraments we realize his presence and his favor towards us. Through the sacraments, which are freely given to us by God, our sins are forgiven, our minds are enlightened, our hearts stirred and our wills strengthened.

Scripture, Tradition and Reason

The New Testament contains Christ’s teachings, the accounts of his life as told by his followers and the beginning of his Church. It is written in 27 books. Within an Episcopal worship service, Scripture is read in the lessons, the Gospel (the teachings of Jesus), the Psalms (poems from the Old Testament) and other prayers. Additionally, 2/3 of our guide to worship, the Book of Common Prayer, comes directly from the Old and New Testaments.

The Creeds

The Creeds are statements that contain a summary of our basic beliefs. The word “creed” comes from the Latin word “creo,” which means “I believe.” In the Episcopal Church, we say both the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed in our worship. Because we are a community of faith, we openly declare our beliefs and in this way unite ourselves to Christians in the past, present and future.  

Baptisms and Confirmations

Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. It is a public statement of one’s intentional decision to follow the way of Jesus. In the case of infant baptism, it is the parents’ declaration of their intent to raise a child in the way of Jesus. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble, so baptism is only administered once.

Worship

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Weddings

Holy Matrimony is a sacrament of the Church, in which a couple enters into a life-long union, make their vows before God, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows. In order to be married in the Episcopal Church, one member of the couple needs to be a baptized Christian. All couples planning to get married are required to take pre-marital counseling. 

Funerals

Death is a part of living; thoughtful Christians acknowledge this and prepare for it. For the Christian, the time to prepare for one’s own death is when one is sound of body and mind. Planning ahead allows family and friends to deal with their own grief at the time of death, and will lighten the burden of the many details to come.