What we Believe in Common as part of the Episcopal Church
We believe there is One God who creates all things, redeems us from sin and death, and renews us as the Children of God. As Episcopalians we promise to follow Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. We believe the mission of our church is restoration of all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. We are enriched by your presence with us. We are called to live out our faith on a daily basis, whether we are at home, school, work or recreation.
Our Beliefs are Reflected in Our Worship
In worship, we are united, acknowledging the holiness of God, to hear God’s Word, to offer prayer and to celebrate God’s presence among us. All are welcome to participate in our worship because it is in worship that we live out our life as a Christian family together. Scripture is the foundation of our worship. The service follows an order found in our worship book called the Book of Common Prayer, two-thirds of which is scriptural. Every worship service includes the reading of Holy Scripture from the Old and New Testaments. Many of our prayers and hymns are filled with Scripture. The Book of Common Prayer includes a variety of ancient and modern prayers and worship occasions for times when the whole community gathers, and for individual use. The Book of Common Prayer allows everyone to participate, reminding us that each person is an important part of the worship experience, whether the service is a celebration or a solemn occasion. It is a guide book for daily Christian living. Music, both traditional and contemporary, is an integral part of uniting our prayers and scripture.
We Celebrate God’s Presence in Our Worship
In our worship service, we celebrate God with us through water, bread and wine. Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us through baptism we are united with God. The Episcopal Church believes through baptism–in any Christian denomination–we become brothers and sisters in God’s family. Jesus shared bread and wine with his first followers and is with us today in this family meal we call Holy Communion or Eucharist. Through it we receive the forgiveness of our sins and a strengthening of our union with God and one another as we remember Christ’s life, death and resurrection. At St. Andrew’s we practice an open communion — all, without exception, are welcome and encouraged to join us at the Lord’s Table.
The cornerstones of our faith: Scripture, Tradition, and Reason
Scripture is the word of God contained in the Old and New testaments of the Bible. The 39 books of the Old Testament contain the story of God’s love from Creation up to the birth of his son, Jesus Christ. They contain God’s laws as He gave them to the Hebrew people. The New Testament contains Christ’s teachings, the accounts of his life as told by his followers, and the beginning of his church. It is written in 27 books. Within an Episcopal worship service, Scripture is read in the lessons, the Gospel (the life and teachings of Jesus), the Psalms (poems from the Old Testament) and other prayers. Additionally, two-thirds of our guide to worship, the Book of Common Prayer, comes directly from the Old and New Testaments.
We are not Christians in isolation but are part of a living faith that spans 2000 years. Tradition is the embodiment of our experience as Christians throughout the centuries. The heart of our tradition is expressed through the Bible, the Creeds (statements of faith, written in first centuries of the church’s existence), the Sacraments (the Lord’s supper and Baptism), and the ordained ministry passed on by Christ to his Church. Our tradition is expressed with many voices, among which are a variety of worship styles, languages, cultures, architecture and music. Our tradition encourages this diversity. We seek to value the life and story each person can bring to the community of faith. As in a multitextured tapestry, each person’s offering is woven into the life of the whole, making it stronger and more beautiful.
Each one of us, with God’s help, makes a decision about how we use tradition and Scripture in our lives. A personal relationship with God allows us to realize and celebrate our lives to the fullest. The gift of reason, as a complement to Scripture and tradition, leads us to seek answers to our own questions and to grow spiritually. Being active in a community of faith strengthens us to carry our faith into the world. Weaving scripture, tradition and reason together, we strengthen our faith and grow as children of God.