What is the Episcopal Church?The Episcopal Church is an American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion -- a “daughter” of the Church of England..
Was the Church of England really founded by Henry VIII?Not entirely. While Henry VIII’s desire for an annulment of his marriage may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, the trend toward separation from Rome had been building for quite some time in England, which had never fully embraced the rule of the Papacy.
Who can be priests and deacons?A. The Episcopal Church has ordained women to all orders of ministry since 1976 and, in 1994, passed a resolution explicitly affirming that LGBT people could not be refused ordination.
What are the sacraments of the Episcopal Church?Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation (“confession”), Ordination and Unction of the Sick (“last rites”). We define “Sacraments” as “Outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace.”
So is the Episcopal Church Protestant or Catholic?Both. Neither. Either. When the Church of England separated itself from Rome, it did not consider itself to be a “Protestant” tradition. Rather, it saw itself returning to the original organization of the church, with local/national congregations organized under the rule of their own bishops. In an attempt to reconcile the views of the Protestant Reformers with the tradition of the Catholic Church, the Anglican tradition became a home for both.
Can I take communion?All baptized Christians, regardless of denomination, may take communion in the Episcopal Church. A baptized child may take communion at any age; the decision of when to take communion is left up to the child’s parents.
I’m confused: are you traditional or not?Nobody loves tradition more that we do! But we know that Jesus, the living Word of God, still calls to us all today: Jesus calls us to be faithful to traditions in ways that reach out to contemporary men and women. Jesus calls us to be messengers of love and forgiveness to a broken world, and to be his hands and arms and feet in service to all.
One last question: Will you threaten me with eternal damnation?We like to think that God makes those decisions and that we aren’t privy to them. We share hope in God’s incredibly bountiful grace to extend salvation to all people.
The Episcopal Church welcomes YOU! The Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska, and St. Francis parish welcome you to find communion and community, and to join us in Christ’s work of service, reconciliation and love.