What are Episcopalians?
The Episcopal Church is a member of the Anglican Communion and is basically the American branch of the Anglican Church, or Church of England, originally known in the 17th century as the Church of England in the Colonies and in the 18th century as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. It was brought to America in 1607 by Robert Hunt (1568-1608), chaplain of the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia, and broke from the Church of England during the Revolutionary War. Late in the 18th century, British Parliament enacted legislation allowing for the ordination of bishops in foreign lands, to be members of the Apostolic Succession while exempt from allegiance to the British Crown. The term "episcopal" means governed by bishops. Although it is a reformed church with emphasis on salvation by grace, the Episcopal Church still retains continuity with the Catholic Church through its episcopal order. There are various levels of the Episcopal Church based on interpretation of church tenets. The High Episcopal church has retained much of the beliefs, practices, rituals, traditions, and appearance of the Catholic Church. High church services are similar to those of the Catholic Mass, with the exception that English is spoken throughout. The Low Episcopal church is more Evangelical in practice, with a simplified order of worship and emphasis on the proclamation of the gospel. Somewhere inbetween are diocese which maintain a more liberal interpretation of Episcopal tenets, continually examining doctrine and redefining beliefs based on the changing times. The official church manual of beliefs and practices is The Book of Common Prayer, a 1789 revision of the English prayer book of 1662, which professes the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. Similar to the sacramental rites of the Catholic Church, the Episcopal Sacraments include the Lord's Supper (Holy Communion), Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders (Ordination), Absolution, and Anointing of the Sick (Unction). Episcopal polity consists of deacons, priests, and bishops, as well as male and female monastic orders. Women may be ordained in the clergy and the more liberal of the Episcopal orders have ordained homosexual members. The basic organizational unit of the church is the congregation, or parish, governed by a body known as the vestry, which is composed of a priest, or rector, and elected laymen, called vestrymen or wardens. Regional districts are called diocese and are overseen by a bishop. The highest authority in the church is the General Convention, a combination of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies (comprising priests and laymen from each diocese).
"The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless--not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."
The Anglical Province in America / The Reformed Episcopal Church
"As most of you know, both the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America are in the process of uniting. Bringing Christians together has never been an easy task-- sadly much harder than splitting apart-- but ours has been a movement notable for its charity and joyful fellowship. We have come to know and love each other during the past five or six years. But as with all such ecumenical activities, so far contacts between our two churches have largely involved only the "management" of the REC and APA. There have been notable exceptions--our congregations in Ohio have met often�but on the whole those in the pews know little about our progress. Our joint website project and our joint magazine are meant to rectify this situation. Hopefully, as this website project grows and our joint publication continues, you will receive encouragement & hope from them. God bless you richly in your life and vocation. Please keep both of us in your prayers as we continue to grow together in fellowship and communion to the glory of God. Amen."
The Anglican Communion
"The Official Web Portal of the Worldwide Anglican Communion"
The Anglican Domain
"This web site is for the Anglican (Episcopal) Church around the world. Its purpose is to help us Anglicans and Episcopalians communicate with each other more easily, and to help everyone learn about our church."
Concerned Clergy and Laity of the Episcopal Church (CCLEC)
"As evangelicals and Episcopalians, we believe the Church's identity is founded on the proclamation of God's redeeming love through Jesus Christ. Yet today we are witnessing the Episcopal Church embracing a secular humanism that refuses to acknowledge the meaning and authority of the Word of God as spoken through the person of Jesus Christ and revealed to us in Holy Scripture. Recent events have forced us to a dismal realization -- that we are a Church in disarray. We have become a Church which contradicts its own doctrine and teaching. The Episcopal Laity Group of the CCLEC, an organization of Concerned Clergy and Laity of the Episcopal Church, represents the voice of thousands of concerned and faithful members of the Church. CCLEC is a lay grassroots movement committed to informing and awakening all Episcopalians so that they may help the Episcopal Church become faithful to God's Word. We are committed to spreading Christ's love and making known that He will forgive our sins when we are truly repentant. We invite all believers to join in restoring the pure faith of Christ in our church, as we return the Episcopal Church to a growing example of Christ's love and salvation."
"We expect our visitors will have a wide range of needs and levels of experience with the Episcopal Church. Lifelong Episcopalians may know the Church inside and out, while others may not know a narthex from a nave. Our site has settled into three natural communities -- the Seeker, or non-Episcopalian, the Parishioner (the 'people in the pews'), and the Church Leader (lay or ordained -- leadership comes in many forms in our Church.)."
"Episcopalian.org is a website designed to inform and encourage those who support worldwide evangelism and discipleship in the name of Jesus Christ, particularly in the Anglican Communion We do this by providing 4 things - Current news stories about the Anglican Communion with a special eye towards missions; Web site development and hosting; Links to the web sites of any province, diocese or church which requests to be included; Forms to join an email discussion group. A good way to understand the perspective of this website is to visit its sponsors. The website was started by the South American Missionary Society (SAMS) in 1995. Two other sponsors have since joined - Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry (TESM) and the American Anglican Council (AAC). We genuinely hope to inform and encourage. Every week, sometimes several times per week, we post news and commentary regarding what is going on in the Anglican Communion. Our primary desire is to provide an international perspective, that is, a missions perspective, though we also post responsible commentary regarding the current non-missions issues of the Anglican Communion."
The Episcopal Church & Visual Arts
"The mission of The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts (ECVA) is to encourage artists, individuals, congregations, and scholars to engage the visual arts in the spiritual life of the church. ECVA values the significance of visual imagery in spiritual formation and the development of faith, and creates programs to support those who are engaged in using the visual arts in spiritual life. The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts strives to: Encourage visual artists in our church to use their creative gifts for the glory of God; Encourage individuals to explore the opportunities visual arts offer in their spiritual journeys; Encourage parishes and cathedrals to incorporate visual arts in their total programs; Encourage conversations and research in issues related to the visual arts, theology and culture. ECVA began as a conversation among a few artists and supporters who sensed that this was a moment for an historic rebirth for visual arts in the Episcopal Church. From that beginning in the spring of 2000, ECVA has developed into a national visual arts community."
The International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church
"The Charismatic Episcopal Church exists to make visible the Kingdom of God to the nations of the world; to bring the rich sacramental and liturgical life of the early church to searching evangelicals and charismatics; to carry the power of Pentecost to our brothers and sisters in the historic churches; and finally, to provide a home for all Christians who seek a liturgical-sacramental, evangelical, charismatic church and a foundation for their lives and gifts of ministry. The International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC) is one of the fastest growing churches in the world, having started with only one bishop and three parishes in 1992 and now reporting close to 1000 churches with over 200,000 �communicant� members in 20 countries. (Attendance is much higher than �communicant� membership.) While the ICCEC is a relatively young communion, it occupies a position within the crucible of historic faith through both Anglican and Catholic [i.e., Catholic Apostolic Church of Brazil] lines; receiving its apostolic succession through pure lines of undisputed orthodox Christianity. While rooted in the ancient we also believe that the ICCEC has been raised by God to be a new jurisdiction with pillars in the historic, apostolic churches as well as the charismatic and evangelical movements of our own generation. In this respect the ICCEC exists as a "convergence of streams" -- a unifier of the liturgical/sacramental, evangelical, and charismatic tributaries of the Church Universal, which flow into the one �river, whose streams make glad the city of God, the Holy Place where the Most High dwells" (Psalm 46:4)."
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia - Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America
"At the close of the war, Episcopalians, as they were already commonly called, realized that, if they were to play any part in the national life, their church must have a national organization. the greatest obstacle to this organization was the obtaining of bishops to carry on a national hierarchy. In Connecticut, where those who had gone into the Episcopal Church had not only read themselves into a belief in the necessity of Episcopacy, but had also adopted many other tenets of the Caroline divines, a bishop was considered of absolute necessity, and, accordingly, the clergy of that state elected the Rev. Samuel Seabury and requested him to go abroad and obtain the episcopal character..."
"The main features of this site are its three sections:
1. Episcopal Church Locator- enabling the viewer to find an Episcopal Church anywhere in America using a zip code search.
2. Directories- showing the Provinces and Dioceses of the Episcopal Church, and detail about each including a provincial contact person, and diocesan office, leadership, ministry contacts and churches.
3. Search-enabling the viewer to ask specific questions about each section of the site, with answers coming from a query of the entire database."
Unofficial Homepage for the Episcopal Church
"Please be aware that this page is no longer maintained. It was originally intended to fill a gap when there were almost no official web pages maintained by the people who should have been doing so, but that time has long past and this page remains only so that old links to information on it still function. The primary purpose of this home page is to serve as a repository for information relevant to the Episcopal Church, and secondarily, information for other provinces of the Anglican Communion."
"Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well."
(1 Timothy 3:8-12)
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