Who Are Episcopalians?
We are followers of Jesus Christ. Apart from that, there are many differences between us. This is by design! The Bible says that humankind was made in God’s image. It doesn’t say that eachhuman is the image of God; it refers to all humankind, together. So, we believe that we come to know God better by forming a very diverse community, representing as much of humankind as possible. Diversity of experience and thought is good. We learn from explaining ourselves and hearing other views.
Despite our differences, we are held together by strongly rooting what we do in the most ancient traditions of the Christian faith. The format and phrasing of our worship builds upon things done for hundreds of years. This reminds us to define our lives by enduring truth, not the latest fancy. It also helps us to feel our kinship with all the saints of the past, and be strengthened by their witness.
At the same time, everything about the culture of NOW is very important to us. God’s choice to enter our human context through the birth of Jesus creates an important model for us. So, we pay attention to context, to what’s around us. The highest human authority in our organization is our bishop, and there is a bishop for each “diocese,” a regional area. This allows some local adaptation of the church, according to its environment. This feature is actually the source of our name; the word “episcopal” derives from Greek roots, meaning overseen by bishops.
As we pay attention to our context, we are particularly concerned about human need, because nothing was more important to Jesus. We look for ways to serve our neighborhood, our city, and the world beyond. We want to be useful to the living and loving God made known in Jesus.
Who are Episcopalians? We are liberal; we are conservative; we are white; we are colorful; we are learned; we are simple; we are old; we are young; we are Democrats; we are Republicans; we are citizens; we are immigrants. We are children of the one God, and eager to meet YOU, another member of the family.