gtag('config', 'AW-16498855070');

The Episcopal Diocese of Maine has put together an outstanding overview of what Episcopalians believe. We’re borrowing it here, with a few updates. Visit their website to learn more about Episcopalians in Maine!

What IS the Episcopal Church?

The Episcopal Church is a branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion in the United States and 21 other countries.

What do Episcopalians Believe?

  • That the Holy Scriptures are the revealed word of God, which inspired the human authors of the Scripture, and which is interpreted by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
  • That the Nicene Creed is the basic statement of our belief about God. It was adopted in the 300s by the early church founders and is said every Sunday in Episcopal and Anglican churches around the United States and the world.
  • That the two great sacraments of the Gospel, given by Christ to the Church, are Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. At Baptism, we affirm the Baptismal Covenant. Found in the Book of Common Prayer, it is the pledge we make (or that is made on our behalf by parents, godparents, and all members of the congregation) at baptism. The operative phrase that qualifies the promises is, “I will, with God’s help.” In the Holy Eucharist, the center of our worship life, we remember and participate in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ until his coming again.

The word “Episcopal” refers to government by bishops – from the Greek episcope, meaning oversight. The historic episcopate continues the work of the first apostles in the Church: guarding the faith, unity and discipline of the Church, and ordaining men and women to continue Christ’s ministry.

How does The Episcopal Church differ from other denominations?

Historically, bishops oversee the Church in particular geographic areas, known as dioceses. In the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who oversees the Diocese of Canterbury, occupies a special position by virtue of history and tradition but he does not hold a governing position. We are a confederation of equals. Collegiality among bishops is the substitute for authority, and communal discernment is the substitute for decision-making power.

Each diocese lives within a set of general decisions made by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church as a whole. These decisions are formalized as canons—rules that govern—by The Episcopal Church and subsequently by each affected diocese. Each diocese elects and sends clergy and lay representatives—deputies—to the General Convention which meets every three years.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the Episcopal Church

Our Chief Pastor and Executive Officer
is the The Most Rev. Michael Curry.
You might remember him as “the wedding preacher”
at the royal wedding of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle.

How diverse is the Episcopal Church?

The Episcopal Church celebrates diversity. We are young and old, male and female, gay and straight, single, married, divorced and widowed, Anglo, African-American, Latinx, African, Asian, working and unemployed, student and teacher, rich and poor. We worship together, study, and ask questions as we move more deeply into the mystery of God.

We honor tradition and strive to live by the example of Jesus Christ, welcoming the stranger and the outcast, helping our neighbors, and offering love and forgiveness. We want our communities to be better because The Episcopal Church is here.

What is worship like?

We are known for our engaging and beautiful worship services. For those who have grown up Roman Catholic, the service, known as the Mass, Eucharist, or Holy Communion, will be very familiar. For those of reformed tradition or no religious tradition at all, we think you may find a spiritual home in a church that respects its tradition and maintains its sense of awe and wonder at the power and mystery of God. Some services are more contemporary, some more traditional but all follow the same form found in the Book of Common Prayer.

There are no prerequisites in the Episcopal Church … Everyone is welcome.

We walk the “middle way” between protestant and catholic traditions. We often talk about The Episcopal Church as following the “via media” or middle way in our theology and discussions because we believe that, whether or not we agree on a particular topic, we all are children beloved by God and we can have thoughtful and respectful discussions.

The Episcopal Church has around 1.7 million members in 111 dioceses and regional areas in 17 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Diocese of Maine, which encompasses the entire state, is home to 57 year-round congregations, 18 summer chapels along the coast, and ministries across the state.

The Diocese of Michigan is Canterbury MSU’s home.
We include 75 congregations in the southeastern region of Michigan – from Detroit to Lansing – comprising over 17,000 baptized members.
The Rt. Rev. Bonnie Perry is our bishop.

Does the Episcopal Church fully welcome and affirm individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities?

The Episcopal Church actively affirms the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in all sacraments and levels of leadership. We strive to create a safe, open, and affirming environment for everyone. In doing so, we honor the teachings of Jesus. To learn more about the Episcopal Church and the LGBTQ+ community, click here.