Our churches include the National Cathedral in Washington, D. Our Sunday Eucharist is celebrated in over a dozen languages, including Spanish and several Native American languages, and we strive to become a more diverse church. The Bible is a foundational part of our church. A typical Sunday service includes four different readings from Holy Scripture following the lectionary, a guide of biblical readings for Sundays and Holy Days.
We take very seriously the role of Holy Scripture in our spiritual life and our worship.
We call these our liturgies. Our liturgies for Holy Eucharist, for Baptism, for marriages and burials, for daily prayers, and for prayers and worship over almost any human experience live deep within the words of the BCP. These liturgies span thousands of years of Christian faith and human experiences of celebration, sin, grief, and joy. What ties us together as Episcopalians is not a particular confession, a hierarchy of religious authority, or a particular dogma, but our common prayers.
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Our prayers shape our beliefs. Many people sitting in the pews with you did not grow up in the Episcopal Church, but were drawn to the serenity and beauty of the liturgy, the love of tradition balanced with the ability to question and discern, and the inclusive welcome. A worship service is a workout for your body, mind, and spirit.
We joke about pew aerobics, because in a typical Episcopal service, you will stand, sit, and kneel — all postures for prayer dating back to the ancient church. Our faith is not a passive one, where you come, sit, and leave at the end. We engage our faith. We sit to listen and learn. We stand to praise and pray. We kneel in solemn confession and silence. We ask questions. And we are okay with not having all the answers.
We believe in traditional tenets of the apostolic faith and we value them. We believe there are many ways to understand and experience the mystery of the Holy Trinity. And we believe God continues to dwell in the church, guiding us. We realize some traditions, when placed under the lens of love, need to change. This is our balance of Scripture, tradition, and reason.
We made national and worldwide headlines a decade ago for consecrating the first openly gay bishop.
Yes, we talk about sex and how God is present in sexual relationships. We recognize that sexuality is part of our created humanity. We also spend time in deep prayer and action for peace, for equality for all people, for dignity for those on the margins of society, for welcome to the outcast , and for justice for the poor. We hear and believe the message that God loves all people.
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No exceptions. We strive to share that welcome with each other and those we encounter in our lives.
While the official Church of England came to fruition in the sixteenth century, Christianity existed in the British Isles since the second century and likely earlier. When the Roman practice of the faith became official in the seventh century, the deep roots of centuries of faith were not abandoned or eradicated. We have often heard the joke about where you find four Episcopalians, you will always find a fifth.
While our faith does not prohibit the consumption of alcohol, we do recognize that for some members of our church communities, substance abuse prevents them from fully loving God, their neighbors, and themselves.
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