What do Episcopalians Believe?
Some people would say, “That’s a very good question.” The answer is really quite simple, Episcopalians sum up their faith in the words of the Apostle’s Creed — the core of our baptismal commitment:
The Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Baptism, for us, is an outpouring of God’s unconditional love and grace. It is the beginning of a journey that calls us to be reconciled, and to be agents for reconcilliation with God, with one another and with the world around us. In addition to the beliefs summed up in the Apostle’s Creed, we promise to:
• continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers.
• persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever we fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord.
• proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.
• seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves.
• strive for justice and peace among all people, and
• respect the dignity of every human being.
It’s a big undertaking! That’s why we promise to keep them with God’s help.
The Catechism is a great place to start if you want to dig deeper into the official outline of faith of the Episcopal Church.
As to other things concerning belief, as Episcopalians, we enjoy great latitude. We vary widely in our approaches to holy scripture. Our worship can range from elaborate rituals to quiet simple gatherings of prayer, reflection or a walk through a Labyrinth.
The Book of Common Prayer, however, we hold in common as our guide to worship as a community. Just as most churches use hymnals to allow their congregation to sing with one voice, we Episcopalians approach our corporate worship and prayer in the same way.
All of this results in a gathered people who walk as pilgrims toward the God who loves us and the whole creation. It’s not always tidy but it does reflect the glory of our diversity and it does tend to work.
The best way to come to know what we believe is to come and see!