Episcopal: What is it?
- A Christian church
- Liturgical: sacred practice
- Accepting, yet biblical
- The church that won’t hurt you
St. Bartholomew’s is an Episcopal church. Our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry (pictured right - welll known for his sermon at the Royal Wedding in 2018) describes us as believers in a "loving, liberating and life-giving God" who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ whose live, death and resurrection changed the world.
That identity has many meanings, which we invite you to explore fully, beginning with the links at the end of this article. Meanwhile, here’s a thumbnail sketch of what Episcopal means.
A Christian Church
Episcopal churches are Christian churches. Our focus is Jesus Christ, whom we believe to be the one and only God in human form. If you are looking to apply a litmus test for correct, orthodox Christian faith, we pass. Virgin born. Died and rose again. Bible is the Word of God. Check, check and double check.
A Liturgical Church
Some things in an Episcopal church worship service change from Sunday to Sunday, while others have been the same for centuries. This common, consistent form of worship is called liturgy. Some people love this repetition and find it prayerful and meditative. It’s also in line with the way God instructed people to worship in the Old Testament. Others believe in the value of newness, and don’t care for repetition. People who grew up in a Roman Catholic or Lutheran tradition often enjoy and appreciate liturgy. Some people raised in an evangelistic tradition were taught to see liturgy as empty ritual. Episcopalians fall on the Roman/Lutheran side of this divide.
Accepting, yet biblical
If you don’t wish to be told what to think, you’re going to love the Episcopal Church. While the church has clear doctrines and believes in the truth of the Bible, we have traditionally tended to see all the varied viewpoints on major issues of the faith. One of the blessings God has given us is the ability to be in fellowship with one another without needing to have lockstep agreement on every religious point. To us, that’s what living together in love is all about.
The Church That Won’t Hurt You
It is our desire that you come to a saving, life-giving faith in Jesus. That said, we find ourselves unable to pressure you or scare you into a particular pattern of belief. We’re kind and gentle, some would say to a fault. This trait is a big reason why the Episcopal Church is a very good place for seekers to begin their journey to faith. We understand that everyone has a comfort zone, and we will respect it. Jesus never coerced people to believe in him. Instead, he invited them. We cordially invite you to begin a journey of faith in the Episcopal Church, and particularly at St. Bartholomew’s.
Want to learn more about the Episcopal faith?
Here are a few resources to begin your journey: