What Is An Episcopal Church?

The Episcopal Church is the American branch of the world-wide Anglican Communion. Historically, it derived from the Anglican Church of England, splitting off during the days of the Revolution due, in no small part, to its clergy having to swear allegiance to the English king. Sometimes the church is described as “Protestant, yet catholic.” In style, the Episcopal Church offers Rite I, a more traditional service, and Rite II, a service with a more progressive slant. One senses in Episcopal services a deep, rich tradition of ritual—including a sermon, prayers, and the Eucharist—accompanied by resonant music and reflections on the Divine in today’s world.

What is Characteristic of Anglicanism?

For many of us, this Anglican dimension comes into play by the way we demonstrate specific values and behaviors we share with many millions of other Anglicans, and which we inherited from our parent tradition in the Church of England. Because we see how important they are amid the global tensions in religion and politics today, we embrace them all the more energetically.


Examples of Anglican Principles:

  • Mutual Tolerance
  • Moderation from Extremes
  • Biblical Teachings rethought in the Light of Reason and Tradition
  • Focal Role of Sacramental Experience in Personal and Communal Life
  • Shared Leadership: Clergy/Laity; Local/Regional/Global
  • Inclusion and Recognition of All Varieties of Religious Expression
  • Narrow Set of Required Beliefs and Practices, but Open to Inclusion (but not requirement) of Spiritual Practices shared by other traditions
  • Multicultural and Ethnic Sensitivity
  • Focus on Symbolism, Beauty, the Arts and many nonverbal religious experiences
  • Commitment to Social Justice and Environment