What Do Episcopalians Believe?

Episcopalians believe in a loving, liberating, and life-giving God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As constituent members of the Anglican Communion in the United States, we are descendants of and partners with the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church, and are part of the third largest group of Christians in the world.

We believe in following the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection saved the world.

Episcopalian beliefs, like Episcopalians themselves, are quite diverse. The standard is the Book of Common Prayer, which contains excerpts of passages from the Bible and various prayers for use in Church and at home. The Book of Common Prayer is a deeply spiritual, literary masterpiece which is used by Christians worldwide in various forms, in both the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church, uniting us in common prayer and worship. It also contains several ancient Creeds. A creed is a statement of belief, and these ancient creeds proclaim what the earliest Christians believed to be true. When we come together each week, we pray using the Book of Common Prayer. We pray as a community. Our liturgy, which is the words and actions of worship, honors a tradition that stretches through time and has been passed down from generation to generation. This pattern of prayer, both ancient and modern, responds to the needs and concerns of faithful Christians of this day and age.

In the Episcopal Church, prayer, belief, and action are intimately tied together. The more we pray something, the more it becomes a part of us. The prayers that we pray shape us and inform our beliefs and our actions.

On a more day-to-day level, to be Episcopalian means thinking critically about issues which confront everyone — and responding in a particular way. The Episcopal Church is quite diverse, and welcomes people of all backgrounds, allowing them to take on responsibilities ranging from those of the clergy, to teachers, to leadership positions, or to simply be congregation members.

The catechism states the beliefs and practices of the Church in a very concise format. It is in the catechism that you may find how Episcopalians view God, Jesus Christ, death, good and evil, and sin. It also explains in a practical fashion what the goal of human life is, and how we may pursue that goal. The catechism can be found on page 845 of the Book of Common Prayer.

We have a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell of and exemplify God’s love for every human being; women and men serve as bishops, priests, and deacons in our church. Laypeople and clergy cooperate as leaders at all levels of our church. Leadership is a gift from God, and can be expressed by all people in our church, regardless of sexual identity or orientation.

As Episcopalians, we strive to love with the heart of Christ, think with the mind of Christ, and act as if we were the body of Christ in the world about us.

We believe that God loves you – no exceptions.