Episcopal Church Basics

Weekly Reflection, Sunday, January 20, 2019

By: Bob Hetherington, Priest Associate

Episcopal Church basics: scripture, tradition, and reason are the basis for authority in the church; the three-legged stool. Christianity is a “revealed” religion and our source of revelation is the Bible.

Let’s look at the four essentials in The Episcopal Church tradition. First, the unfailing appeal to Holy Scripture. That is where we find the story of Jesus. The Church tells the story of Jesus through the seasons of the church year from Advent through Pentecost. If you come to church for 52 Sundays, you experience the whole story from the birth of Jesus to his death and resurrection and the pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit.

Second, the Nicene and Apostle Creeds are essentials. These are historic affirmations of faith. They present Jesus as fully man and fully God. The triune God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Third the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Eucharist. Baptism is our initiation into the life of the church. Holy Eucharist is the ongoing nurturer we receive through the body and blood of Christ. Fourth, the orders of ministry: Bishop, priest, and deacon. These historic categories of ministry connect us to the global mission of the Church to serve the needs of the world. Our governing body is the Diocese of Virginia. David May presides over the life of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church because the Bishop cannot be here regularly.

Other denominations celebrate these values as well but the way they are combined in The Episcopal Church make us who we are. These are the values which sustain and nurture us. They form us spiritually. God is writing a story in each of our lives. By staying connected to these core values we gain focus and strength to be God’s people at work in the world. The spiritual journey is not over until life is over.

Join me for an exploration of these spiritual values at the 10 a.m. forum this morning in the Parish Hall.