The Episcopal Church affirms faith in God, especially as described in the creeds of the early church.
Below is a summary in plain language. While this is what we teach and believe, we understand that not everyone who comes here is ready to accept all these claims. That's ok! Church is not a place for people who already know everything. We want to walk with you as you explore these ideas. And we're more interested in helping you get to know God's love through Jesus Christ than getting you to accept a checklist of ideas.
In the Episcopal Church, our beliefs are grounded in the Bible interpreted through the historic creeds of the Church, especially the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds. This means we affirm that:
There is one God who exists as three Persons, conventionally called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
This God created everything in the universe.
The second Person—the Son, or the Word—became the Jewish human being called Jesus of Nazareth.
The Son became human (this is what "was incarnate" means in the Nicene Creed), lived among us, taught us, and died on the cross.
On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead.
Jesus did all these things so we can return to right relationship with God, grow into whom we were created to be, and ultimately be raised from the dead like him.
Holy Scripture, or the Bible, is comprised of the Old and New Testaments. It contains all the things we need to get to know God, return to right relationship with God, and grow into whom God wants us to be.
God has given us ways to know we are forgiven and become more like Jesus. These ways include being baptized, receiving communion regularly, being a part of a Christian community (church), praying, and reading the Bible.
Having our sins forgiven, coming back to right relationship with God, growing into whom God created us to be, and being freed from death are completely the result of God's love freely given (called grace). We do not earn these things under our own power.
Any ability we have to respond to God or work alongside God comes from the Holy Spirit working within us.
The above text is adapted, with permission, from the website of Trinity Episcopal Church in Oshkosh, WI.
Episcopal Church FAQs
What is the Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. (ECUSA, or sometimes abbreviated TEC) is the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion—a “daughter” of the Church of England. Read more about this here.
St. Paul's is one parish of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.
What is the Anglican Communion?
What is the Book of Common Prayer?
In 1549, Thomas Cranmer created the first Book of Common Prayer for the English-speaking Christians in England to be able to worship in their native tongue (as opposed to Latin). Since then, various churches in the Anglican Communion have adapted our own Books of Common Prayer. The Episcopal Church's current Book of Common Prayer was authorized in 1979, and the church is slowly working on revisions for a new version in the future.
Do you believe in women's ordination?
Yes, the Episcopal Church has ordained women to be deacons and priests since 1976! And the first female bishop in the Anglican Communion came from the Episcopal Church in 1989.
Now, people of all genders and sexual orientations can be ordained in the Episcopal Church.
Does the Episcopal Church believe in same-sex marriage?
As a whole, yes. Since 1976, the Episcopal Church has repeatedly affirmed at the national level that LGBTQ+ people are children of God who belong in the church exactly as they are.
When same-sex marriage became legal throughout the United States in 2015, the Episcopal Church permitted any couple access to the rite of Holy Matrimony. Individual priests may still choose not to officiate same-sex weddings. St. Paul's and Rev. Helena joyfully welcome all couples who seek Holy Matrimony!
Wait, I still have questions!
That's great! Your curiosity is welcome and encouraged here.
Rev. Helena is happy to answer your questions and talk to you more about what we teach at St. Paul's.