Who are we?
The Episcopal Church is a member church in the Anglican Communion, and Anglicans or Episcopalians are Christians who believe that we are a part of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. The Book of Common Prayer (1979) expresses our faith; we say lex orandi, lex credendi in Latin or “as we pray, so we believe.” There are 3.5 million adherents who claim affiliation with The Episcopal Church and our historic denomination is the spiritual home to nearly 2 million active baptized members. We share this faith with the worldwide Anglican Communion which unites us with 85 million other Anglicans and Episcopalians. We also share our Christian faith with Full Communion partners, especially with episcopal Lutheran churches, uniting us with millions of Christians. Please, click here to learn more.
As an Anglican and/or Episcopalian, one is not only a member of the regional church but of the one holy catholic Church, visibly united with the churches of the Anglican Communion and with Full Communion Partners.
Episcopalians are Christians who affirm and express our faith using the words of the Nicene, Athanasian, and Apostles‘ Creeds found in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). We believe in one God in three persons, who share one essence, the Holy Trinity, the +Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or the +Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. We profess in our Creeds to believe in the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ, born incarnate of the Virgin Mary. He is truly God and truly human, the second person of the Holy Trinity. His Mother, Mary, is uniquely recognized as the Mother of God or Theotokos (lit. birth-giver of God) to emphasize and confirm Christ’s divinity; in scripture, she is referred to as the Mother of the Lord (Luke 1:39-43). Therefore, we worship one God in three persons who share one being or essence, the +Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We recognize the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. In Baptism, we acknowledge that the newly baptized person receives the grace of the Holy Spirit and Salvation through Christ in the name of the +Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The baptized person becomes a member of the body of Christ, the catholic Church, and the kingdom of God. In the Holy Eucharist or Communion, we affirm the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the bread and wine when consecrated by the priest. We accept that how this is possible is a holy mystery, and we faithfully receive the real presence of the body and blood of Jesus in Holy Communion. The Episcopal Church also recognizes many sacramental rites in the Christian life, believing that the Holy Spirit is not limited; among these rites are Confirmation, Confession, Marriage, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders. We share these sacraments with many believers around the world.
Please, learn more about what we believe about the Sacraments here.
The Holy Scriptures
We affirm that the Holy Scriptures, the texts of the Bible, include all things necessary for our Salvation. “The Scriptures, comprised of the Old and New Testament, as well as some apocryphal texts, were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit” (The Episcopal Church). The Bible is interpreted through tradition and reason as we are guided by the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures are read at every worship service and the majority of the BCP is derived from the words of Scripture. The Holy Gospel holds a special place in our worship and is venerated and proclaimed during the Liturgy of the Word preceding the Holy Eucharist.
Please, learn more about what we believe about the Bible here.
We are followers of Jesus who believe that the catholic, or universal, Church is the body of Christ. We affirm the equality of every member of the Church and the priesthood of all believers. Lay ministry is celebrated, supported, and encouraged. We trace our history back to the Apostles through apostolic succession and recognize the Holy Orders of Bishop, Priest, and Deacon. The Bishop, leading with apostolic succession, through the episcopate (from where we receive the name ‘Episcopal’), is the shepherd and overseer of a Diocese. In the Diocese of Arizona, our Bishop is the Right Reverend Jennifer A. Reddall. The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, who leads the Bishops, is the Most Reverend Michael Curry. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is a symbol of unity for the Anglican Communion and the head of the Church of England, is the Most Reverend Justin Welby.
Among Christians, some persons may be called to Holy Orders, ordained ministry, as priests (presbyters), and deacons (Ephesians 4:11-16, 1 Timothy 4:14). The bishop ordains priests or presbyters to preside over the Sacraments, especially and uniquely over the Holy Eucharist, and Deacons to proclaim the Gospel, be the ministers of Christ to the world, and, with the priests, to administer the Word and Sacraments. The Holy Orders are open to men, women, and people of any gender who, through discernment, are called by God to ordained ministry (Galatians 3:28).
We strive to reconcile and renew the visible bonds of unity within the invisible catholic Church. The Episcopal Church, as a member of the Anglican Communion, is in Full Communion with the Old Catholic Church – Utrecht Union, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar. Additionally, The Episcopal Church is in Full Communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Church of Sweden, and the Moravian Church in North America. The Anglican and Episcopal Churches of Europe are united with the episcopal Lutheran Churches in Europe through Full Communion within the Porvoo Communion.