The Episcopal Church is a Christian denomination, and the American branch of the Anglican Church (the historic Church of England). Anglicanism began in England in the sixteenth century, when King Henry VIII broke ties with the Pope and declared the Catholic Church in England to be independent. It became the Anglican Catholic, as opposed to the Roman Catholic, church.
Under Elizabeth I, during the Reformation, the Church of England aimed to follow a middle path between the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism in order to unify both Protestants and Catholics, and allow them to worship together in spite of their wide range of differences. This middle path became known as the “Anglican Way,” which to this day allows for a range of theological and cultural differences within a unified church.
Our mission is to love and serve Christ in all persons, regardless of their race, gender, social background, religious upbringing, or sexual orientation. We can agree to disagree about many things that are less important than that one mission. We rely on the scriptures of the Old and New Testament as well as the Book of Common Prayer, which unites all Episcopal Churches in our shared life of prayer and sacraments.
Full membership in the Episcopal Church begins with the sacrament of Baptism, which may take place either in the Episcopal Church or at another Christian church where baptism is done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism does not need to be repeated—it is full initiation once and for all into the whole body of Christ, the Christian church, regardless of the denomination in which a person is baptized.
Thank you for visiting the Church of the Heavenly Rest. We would love to get to know you, and to hear your story, and answer any questions you might have about membership and what it means to be an Episcopalian.