What Does it Mean to Be an Episcopalian?
In The Episcopal Church we share in the catholic (meaning universal and authentic) faith held by the Apostles and passed down through the centuries. While we hold this faith dear, we are also of the reformed tradition which began in Europe and England in the 16th century. We live simultaneously in two great expressions of the Christian faith: catholic and reformed. In the Episcopal/Anglican (meaning of the English) tradition we try to live by the via media, the "middle way," always seeking to reconcile different ways of thinking, while holding on to that which is of the greatest value.
In the sacrament of Holy Baptism we express our beliefs and make promises about how we will live. At baptism, we say . . .
We Believe . . .
In one God, in Trinity of Persons and Unity of Being, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as revealed through the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and as expressed by the Nicene and Apostle's Creeds.
We Affirm . . .
Our commitment to Jesus Christ as our Savior. We put our whole trust in his grace and love. We promise to obey him as our Lord.
We Renounce . . .
Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God; the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God; and all sinful desires that draw us from the love of God.
We Vow That We Will . . .
- 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 neighbors as ourselves.
- Strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.
In our vows we affirm that the only way we can live out such lofty promises is with God's help.
The Five Marks of Mission
How do we know that we are living out God's mission? Another helpful guide apart from our baptismal covenant is the Anglican Five Marks of Mission. We know we are living God's mission when we are working:
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth
Want to Learn More?
To learn more about The Episcopal Church and The Anglican Communion, click on the links above under the "About" tab.
God bless you on your journey!