About The Episcopal Church
(Adapted from materials developed by the national Episcopal Church Visitorís Center and Integrity/El Camino Real.)

 

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

www.episcopalchurch.org/welcome

  Or, visit the Web site for the Episcopal Church in the USA

www.ecusa.anglican.org

  For information about LGBT people and the Episcopal Church, go to the national Integrity Web site

www.integrityusa.org

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.