New to the Episcopal Church

We’re Glad You’re Here

As Episcopalians, we worship, study, and ask questions as we move more deeply into the mystery of God. We honor the great tradition of the church and strive to imitate Jesus Christ, welcoming the stranger and the outcast, loving our neighbors as ourselves, and sharing God’s grace and forgiveness.

Everyone is welcome.

What Does It Mean to Be Episcopalian?

An Episcopalian is someone who belongs to The Episcopal Church, the branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion in the United States. We trace our heritage back to the earliest Christians through the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church. Sometimes called a “middle way” between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, Episcopalians are perhaps best described as Reformed Catholics with an emphasis on the holiness to be found in everyday life.

What We Believe:

Episcopalians believe in the historic Christian faith as outlined in the APOSTLES’ AND NICENE CREEDS, the latter of which is considered the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.

The Creeds are drawn from the HOLY SCRIPTURE, which we profess to be the inspired Word of God, containing all things necessary to salvation.

In addition to the Old and New Testaments, Anglicans include the Apocrypha in the Bible, but it is only to be read for example of life and conduct and not to establish doctrine. As we “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the Bible, we learn the story of God’s love in the world.

A detailed exposition of our beliefs can be found in the CATECHISM or “Outline of the Faith” in THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER. It is designed in a question-and-answer format.

Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer is the collection of prayers, readings, psalms, devotions, and services that make up the official liturgy of the Episcopal Church.

Nearly all services on any given Sunday are printed in this book. It serves as a unifying glue that places it at the heart of who we are both as Episcopalians and the Anglican Communion.

BCP Online

Sacraments & Pastoral Services



Holy Baptism is initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s body, the Church. One of the two sacraments our tradition recognizes as generally necessary for all Christians, it is a public statement of one’s intention to follow Jesus. For infants, it is the parents’ declaration of their intent to raise a child in the Christian faith and the way of Jesus.



The central act of Christian worship, instituted by Jesus. It is the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, in which, as the celebrant blesses the bread and wine offering them to the people, the one perfect sacrifice of Christ is made present, that in receiving “he may dwell in us, and we in him” (BCP 336).


A mature profession of faith in Christ made in the presence of the community. For those baptized as infants, it is is an opportunity to embrace the vows made on their behalf. It is also a way for those baptized in other traditions to commit to the Anglican Communion as their spiritual home. The rite includes the laying on of hands and special prayers by the bishop.


The celebration and blessing of a marriage is an expression of Christian community in which a couple makes vows before God and the Church, and a priest asks God’s blessing on their relationship. A wedding is the beginning of a Christian marriage intended to provide, among other gifts, a source of mutual joy and a help and comfort in prosperity and adversity.

Reconciliation of a Penitent

Also known as Confession, this is a process of seeking and receiving forgiveness. Private confession is especially encouraged for spiritual issues that seem unresolvable. As the the Prayer Book puts it if “you need help and counsel, then go and open your grief to a discreet and understanding priest…to the removal of scruple and doubt, the assurance of pardon, and the strengthening of your faith” (BCP 317).


Anointing with Holy Oil for the purposes of healing. Jesus himself healed, anointed, and laid hands on the sick, teaching us to do the same. This service of anointing, healing prayer and communion can be done when one is spiritually or emotionally afflicted, physically sick, or dying, in order to seek both internal and external healing as well as the peace of Christ, and assurance of his presence during a time of trial.



In the Episcopal Church, a funeral is primarily an act of worship. For Christians, planning their funeral can be seen as a final act of faithful witness, and an act of love for their surviving family members and friends. The Book of Common Prayer Book states that “baptized Christians are properly buried from the church.”

Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child

The Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child is a pastoral service during which families give thanks for a safe delivery or completed adoption and celebrate, with their community, the growth of their family, welcoming their children in the midst of the congregation.


All Christians are baptized into ministry and service, but the church sets some people apart for specific ministries through ordination. Through the laying on of hands by bishops and the prayers of the community, people are set apart for the three orders of ministry recognized by The Episcopal Church: bishop, priest, and deacon.