What does it mean to be Episcopalian?
As Episcopalians, we are followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and we believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We strive to love our neighbors as ourselves and respect the dignity of every person. We believe in the amendment of life, the forgiveness of sin, and life everlasting.Holy Communion may be received by all baptized Christians, not only members of the Episcopal Church. We celebrate our unity in Christ while honoring our differences, always putting the work of love before uniformity of opinion.
The Episcopal Church is a part of the worldwide community of churches known as the Anglican Communion which grew out of the Church of England. At the time of the Reformation, the Church of England adopted some of the reform ideas circulating on the Continent while at the same time maintaining the Apostolic Succession (the historic, unbroken line of bishops going back to the Apostles).
The Church of England spread as the British Empire grew into a global empire. The Anglican Church arrived in the American colonies with the first settlement in Jamestown. After the Revolution, the Protestant Episcopal Church was formed by many of the same Founding Fathers who had recently formed our new nation. Then, by sending Samuel Seabury, William White, and Samuel Provoost back to Scotland and England to be conserated bishops, the Apostolic Succession was maintain, and in 1789, the Book of Common Prayer of the Protestant Episcopal Church was adopted.
Today, we are in communion with the Church of England but do not come under its authority.