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What’s Episcopal?

From Wikipedia

The Episcopal Church (TEC) is the United States-based member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It is a Christian church divided into nine provinces and has dioceses in the United States, Taiwan, Micronesia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, as well as the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe and the Navajoland Area Mission. The current Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is Michael Curry, the first African American bishop to serve in that position.

In 2014, the Episcopal Church had 1,956,042 baptized members. In 2011, it was the nation's 14th largest denomination.[3] In 2015, Pew Research estimated that 1.2 percent of the adult population, or 3 million people, self-identify as mainline Episcopalians/Anglicans.[1] Along with Presbyterians, Episcopalians tend to be considerably wealthier[4] and better educated (having graduate and post-graduate degrees per capita) than most other religious groups in United States,[5] and are disproportionately represented in the upper reaches of American business,[6] law and politics.[7][needs update]

The church was organized after the American Revolution, when it became separate from the Church of England, whose clergy are required to swear allegiance to the British monarch as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. The Episcopal Church describes itself as "Protestant, Yet Catholic".[8] The Episcopal Church considers itself to be apostolic, as it teaches that its bishops can be traced back to the apostles via holy orders. The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) is the United States version of the collection of traditional rites, blessings, liturgies, and prayers used throughout the Anglican Communion, and is central to Episcopalian worship.

The Episcopal Church was active in the Social Gospel movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[9] Since the 1960s and 1970s, the church has pursued a decidedly more liberal course. It has opposed the death penalty and supported the civil rights movement and affirmative action. Some of its leaders and priests are known for marching with influential civil rights demonstrators such as Martin Luther King, Jr.. The church calls for the full legal equality of gay and lesbian people, a movement partly inspired by their similar call for racial equality during the mid-1950s. In 2015, the church's 78th annual General Convention passed resolutions allowing the blessing of same-sex marriages and approved two official liturgies to bless such unions,[10] though they are not yet official rites within the BCP. The BCP describes marriage as the union of a man and a woman.[11]

The Episcopal Church ordains women and LGBT people to the priesthood, the diaconate, and the episcopate, despite opposition from a number of other member churches of the global Anglican Communion. In 2003, Gene Robinson was the first openly gay person ordained as a bishop in Anglican history.

Read more about the Episcopal Church

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Baptismal Covenant

The rite of Christian initiation contains a series of vows, made by all present, called the “baptismal covenant.” After the candidates have renounced evil and committed themselves to Christ, the presider asks the congregation to join them and “renew our own baptismal covenant.” Responding to a series of questions, the people affirm belief in the triune God (through the Apostles' Creed) and promise to continue in the Christian fellowship, resist evil and repent, proclaim the gospel, serve Christ in all persons, and strive for justice and peace. The Book of Common Prayer also suggests the covenant for use, in place of the Nicene Creed, on four days when there are no candidates for baptism: the Easter Vigil, the Day of Pentecost, All Saints’ Day or the Sunday thereafter, and the feast of the Baptism of our Lord. In the Episcopal Church the baptismal covenant is widely regarded as the normative statement of what it means to follow Christ.

The Baptismal Covenant

Celebrant Do you believe in God the Father?
People I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
Celebrant Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
People I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Celebrant Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
People I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Celebrant Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
People I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
People I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
People I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
People I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
People I will, with God’s help.

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Outline of Faith

Outline for instruction in the Christian faith presented in a question and answer format. The Catechism appears in the Book of Common Prayer as “An Outline of the Faith.” Although the Catechism serves as a commentary on the creeds, it is not intended to be a complete statement of belief and practice. It provides a brief summary of the church’s teaching. The Catechism is intended to serve as a point of departure for discussion by the catechist (lay or ordained) with those who seek to understand the beliefs and practices of the Episcopal Church.

An Outline of the Faith commonly called the Catechism

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Why should I be an Episcopalian? Video

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori answers the question, “If I didn't go to church, what would you tell me to get me to visit an Episcopal Church?”

Click here for Why should I be an Episcopalian video