For decades, Episcopal Churches around the United States have been identified by a sign, which shows the Episcopal Shield and the words, “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You.”
Although the Episcopal Church across the United States and locally in the Diocese of Ohio has been challenged and changed in some ways over the years, those words . . .
The Episcopal Church Welcomes You
...are truer than ever before.
You will find us to be old and young, male and female, gay and straight, single, married, divorced, and widowed, white and black, CEO and unemployed, rich and poor. In fact we are like everybody. We work in our communities, we try to further God's kingdom on earth, we study and we ask questions as we move deeper into the mystery of God. We support one another in good times and bad, and we try to see Christ in everyone we meet.
We are known for our engaging and beautiful worship services. For those who have grown up Catholic, the service, known as the Mass or Eucharist, 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. The Episcopal Church welcomes everyone at the communion table, because we believe everyone is invited into a relationship with the living God.
There are no prerequisites in the Episcopal Church...
Everyone is welcome
What is an Episcopalian?
The word “Episcopal” refers to government by bishops. An Episcopalian is a person who belongs to the Protestant Episcopal Church, the branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion in the United States. As Episcopalians, we believe:
- 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.
- The Nicene and the Apostles Creed are the basic statements of our beliefs about God.
- The two great sacraments of the Gospel, given by Christ to the Church, are Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. In Baptism we renounce Satan, repent of our sins, and adopt Jesus as our Lord and Savior. 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 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.
The doctrine and forms of worship are inherited from the Anglican Church—the Church of England, and the Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
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 has only the power of persuasion over other branches of the Communion, that is, we are a confederation of equals. Bishops from the Anglican Communion meet every 10 years for the Lambeth Conference, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, but the resolutions coming from that Conference do not hold authority over all members of the Communion. Collegiality among bishops is the substitute for authority, and communal discernment is the substitute for decision-making power.
Each bishop and diocese, operating through a yearly diocesan convention, determine the character of life and work in that diocese within a set of general decisions made by a triennial 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. The convention of the Diocese of Ohio generally takes place in November.