People often ask:
Are you Roman Catholic? Are you Christians? What do you believe, anyway?
We believe in our Statement of Faith, the Nicene Creed and our Baptismal Covanant, the Apostle's Creed. We don't really add to and never subtract from those Creeds.
Let's start with our beliefs.
In the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Three in One
That Jesus is Christ, the Messiah, and that he died for our sins
That He was born of the Virgin Mary after being conceived by the Holy Spirit
That He walked the world as a mortal for 33 years
In Christian Hope:
1. Christ will return to earth someday
2. The dead are born to new eternal life
3. Those who follow the path of Jesus will see the Kingdom of heaven
That Christ rose from the dead and walked among His followers before being lifted up into Heaven.
That God spoke with and through the prophets
That God has one universal (catholic) church
That our priests are in the direct line of consecration handed down from Jesus to the apostles and are part of the same divine institution built upon that foundation (Ephesians 2:20; John 20: 19-22)
That the Saints (living and righteous dead) are with us in community (they hold a special place in our hearts)
Our Baptismal Covanant gives us steps or processes to become disciples of Christ Jesus:
1. Belief in the creation of the world by the One, True, Triune God
2. Fellowship through prayers and the breaking of bread
3. Use of our time, talents and treasures to produce the work of God
4. Proclamation of the Good News to all persons
5. Repentance and return, perseverance in the battle against evil
6. Service to Christ through serving all people
7. Work toward justice and peace.
Now, let's answer the question, are you Roman Catholic?
We are often confused with the Roman Catholic Church because our worship services are similar and because the priests and deacons of both faith traditions wear special clothing, called vestments. We are both Christian religious traditions and we respect those of Roman Catholic faith. However, there are many differences between our beliefs. It is these differences that make us the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Catholic means "proclaims the whole faith to all people, to the end of time" (Book of Common Prayer, page 854). This faith is applicable to all people in all places at all times (See Matthew 28:19). No denomination or "church" can claim it holds exclusive rights to the descriptive "catholic". We must recognize that any specific branch of Christianity is only a part of "the one holy, catholic church".
The Communion of Saints is the entire family of God, living and dead, who are part of the body of Christ. We are bound through belief, sacrament, prayer and praise (Book of Common Prayer, page 862). The term "Saints" indicates that these are people who are holy or set apart. It means that all Christians are different from others (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2) in that they have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. It means that, no matter how imperfect we are, we strive to become more like our Lord (Philippians 3:12-14). Through the Holy Spirit, all Christians are bound to and through Christ Jesus in a great community of the living and the dead. (Ephesians 2:19, 4: 15-16; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
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