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What It Means to be Episcopalian

The Reverend Loree Penner stands behind the altar with her arms raised.

The Episcopal Church is part of a world-wide entity called the Anglican Communion.  With its roots in England, where the Archbishop of Canterbury resides, the Anglican Communion is the second largest church group in the world.

Episcopalians are often called “People of the Book.”  We use the Book of Common Prayer as our guide to personal prayer and our corporate services.  We follow the liturgy within the Book of Common Prayer and its supplements each Sunday in our worship.  The word “liturgy” comes from a Greek word that means “the work of the people.”  Here at St. Thomas,’ our liturgies are truly the work of the people: musicians, acolytes, readers, and communion servers work together with the priest to create a service that we hope will be joyful and inspiring.

As Episcopalians, our faith is centered around the Nicene Creed, which states our belief in God as God is known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We work to preach the gospel, or good news of Jesus Christ in word and in deed.  Our Mission and Ministry team work both in and out of the church to meet needs from care for the sick to feeding the hungry.

Episcopalians are sacramental.  We believe that one way God shares his grace with us is through the Sacraments, which are outward, visible signs of an inward, invisible grace.  The two sacraments that are most important in our faith are Baptism and Communion.  In the Rite of Baptism, we become part of the Body of Christ.  In Communion, we receive the grace of Christ through the bread and wine.  Other Sacraments are Confirmation, Marriage, Prayer for the Sick, Ordination, and Reconciliation.

As People of the Book, and as Sacramental Christians, we gather each Sunday to hear the Word of God, and to gather around the Table of the Lord.  We share fellowship, prayer, and song as we are strengthened to take the Good News to those we know and love.

— The Reverend Loree Penner, Rector