One of the questions I have been asked recently is how and why did I end up in the Episcopal Church. I told a little bit of the how in my first post when I wrote about the welcome to the neighborhood letter that I received from the local Episcopal Church. But, the story begins several years before that. In a discussion of my struggles with the church I grew up in, an uncle of mine told me that when I decided to return to church to try the Episcopalian church. I remember him using the phrase "they love everyone".
As for the why, well that isn't as easy to tell. The basic tenets of our faith are laid out in the Nicene Creed (I encourage those of you who aren't familiar with it to google it), and they are no different than any other Christian church really. Although you won't find it in any of the official doctrine, most everyone in the Episcopal Church will tell you that the church is built on Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, often referred to as the Pillars of the church. We believe that scripture, the Bible, is the inspired word of God, written down by humans to documents their beliefs, laws, and history. I like to equate it to Jesus being wholly God and wholly Man; the scriptures in the Bible are divine and human at the same time. You can't separate the humanness from the godliness. Our tradition is to worship in the same way that some Christians did a thousand of years ago and will worship thousands of years from now; it connects us, in worship, to those who were before and those who will come after – the communion of saints. We use our God given reasoning abilities and the Holy Scriptures to make decisions to live our lives in worship and fellowship as we create God's kingdom here on earth.
These are the beliefs and behaviors that I have experienced in the people that I have come to know that are the Episcopal Church and I believe that they reveal the image of Christ.
Do I think the Episcopal Church is perfect? No. Most of us are just doing the best we can in our humanness to do that which God would have us do. We have our own internal struggles just like most if not all churches, but for the most part, we accept and embrace difference in opinion and open discussions. Being in communion with one another is important to us; we cannot fulfill God's purpose as individuals, but together, in Christ, we can become who God would have us to be.
I feel very much at home in the Episcopal Church and I believe it is where God has called me to serve.
God's Peace be with you,