The Episcopal Church is a
Christian denomination with a rich Catholic and Protestant heritage. We
believe in a God of creation, redemption, and constant presence and love. We
believe that Godís love and grace, which belong to all people without
exception, are expressed through the Church, which is the Body of Christ. Our
faith is not based on anticipated rewards or punishment, but on a free
commitment of our will to do Godís will.
Within the Episcopal Church all people are ministers. Some are called into
special ministry positions to which they are "ordained." These are
deacons, priests, and bishops who are together called "clergy." All
others are called "lay people." All participate in the work of the
church and in its governance.
Episcopalians are "liturgical," meaning we worship using a set of
texts, which are found in the Book of Common Prayer. Not only will you know
pretty much what to expect when you go to any Episcopal service, the words for
that service are in the hands of the people.
These services tell a story and act it out. For instance, in Holy Communion
( a worship service that we also call the "Eucharist"), the people
act out the Gospel story of the Last Supper, eating a piece of bread and
taking a sip of wine because Jesus told us to do so, in remembrance of him.
Similarly, the baptism of Jesus began for Christians a rite of acceptance that
makes use of the symbolism of water.
Because the liturgy draws us into the story through the use of all senses,
services are beautiful, dignified, yet invariably human. Do not be afraid of
"making a mistake." The Prayer Book provides the words you will need
and the small print gives instructions about standing and kneeling. But even
these customs vary in different congregations. You will notice that there are
different practices even in the same church.
Learn more at the national Episcopal Church Visitorís Center
Or, visit the Web site for the Episcopal Church in the USA
For information about LGBT people and the Episcopal Church, go to the
national Integrity Web site
Click here to find a congregation
in the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real where you should feel comfortable
as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person.