Posted by: celticanglican | June 18, 2007

Why I Like Being An Episcopalian

Why I Like Being An Episcopalian


People often ask me what it is specifically that drew me to this particular church. I’ve tried to answer this in my first article for The Episcopal Portal. Here it is….

I’m what you’d call a cradle Episcopalian. I was baptized in the Episcopal Church at an early age and attended church every Sunday, but gradually drifted away at adolescence. Unfortunately, I was put off of Christianity for awhile because of the un-Christlike behavior of kids in my public school who claimed to be Christian. I explored other faiths and the New Age Movement, but found was called back to the Christian faith. I started attending the Episcopal Church again on March 23, 1997 and was confirmed on April 25 (Feast of St. Mark) in 1998.

I’ve often been asked what it was that drew me to the Episcopal Church. While some of it is personal, much of it has to do with my church’s approach to Scripture, evangelism, and worship. Here are some of my reasons for joining the Episcopal Church:

Diversity

A late rector of the parish I attended in Masachusetts once described the Episcopal Church as being like a big umbrella, and I think this was a good description. Catholic-inclined? There’s something for you. Protestant-inclined? There’s something for you, too. Charismatic, or liberal with a desire for more social justice? There’s also something for you. Not only that, but there is a lot of ethnic and cultural diversity, too.

Scripture

One of the things that bothered me as a teen was the rigid, legalistic approach some literalists take to Scripture. I also had problems with the common New Age beliefs that the Bible was “only one of many inspired books” or was just a book of myths and fairy tales. The Episcopal Church accepts Scripture as the inspired Word of God and final authority on doctrine. However, there is room for difference in belief on things that are not essential to salvation.

Other Churches

One belief I have always struggled with is the teaching of some churches that you are only saved if you’re a member of their church. As a Christian, I believe people are only saved through Jesus Christ, not by the church they attend. Episcopalians are generally accepting of people of other faiths, too, without compromising Christian beliefs. In general, we’re good friendship evangelists.

Worship

Not everyone worships the same way, and the Episcopal Church is sensitive to this need. Unfortunately, many churches who say they’re Spirit-led and do not have a restrictive service are, in fact, restricting their members to only one style of worship. Most Episcopal churches have more than one service on Sunday, and these services are often very different while still following our normal order of service. Some of the kinds of services you may find on any Sunday:

A traditional, family service with hymns, sermon, and Communion.

A “Solemn High Mass” with incense, beautiful music, bells, and sung Eucharist, often affectionately (or otherwise!) known as “Smells and Bells”.

A contemporary service with a live band and praise music.

A Morning Prayer service with a lengthly sermon and Communion offered only once or twice a month.

These are just some of the things that drew me to this branch of Christ’s Church. If you think this may be the church for you, please don’t hesitate to ask questions. I hope you’ll visit this site often, because I will be adding content every few days.

Advent Blessings,

Amanda

(Originally written in 2001).

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Responses

  1. Nice to meet you! I’m a former Baptist who is considering a major conversioni into the Anglican/Episcopal church. I also have a website as I am beginning to explore Episcopalian doctrine and beliefs. Feel free to help moderate some of my thoughts as I may need a lot of guidance in order to understand what the church is all about.

  2. Nice to meet you, too Anna! If you have any questions or want to chat about your experiences, please let me know. I’ll be glad to help wherever your Christian journey takes you.

  3. My exposure to the Episcopal church was 5 years ago when my daughter was refused baptism in the catholic church because her godmother didn’t meet the requirements of the church. Since her baptism I left the church only to return back today to St. Marks Episcopal church. My main reason for returning to the Episcopal church is because since I am divorced (married in a catholic church) and remarried in a civil union I cannot take communion. I love the fact that the episcopal church doesn’t punish me for something I had to do in the past. It was wonderful to be able to take communion with my family after 10 years. I am going to speak to the Reverend of my parish and take the formal steps to convert me and my eldest daughter to episcopalian. They truly let us participate in our lord’s table!

    • Hi Jackie,
      Thanks for sharing your story, and I hope you’ll come back and share more about your journey, if you like. May God bless you and your daughter in your spiritual journey.

  4. I am a Mormon and have been for a long time. I am discontent with some of the Mormon rules and beliefs, although I do still respect them. I feel I am on a new path exploring other options. I have been attending my local episcipal church in my town. I just love the liturgical service, hymns, music, scripture readings, sermon. I can’t wait to attend every week and have been for couple months now. Although the local episcipal church people seem to be so cold. Nobody says anything to me although the priest is very welcoming. I don’t know quiet what to say and don’t really want to mention my past church affiliation. I still love all my Mormon friends and still attend sometimes. I just feel so much spiritually fed and feel like I found “home” in the episcipal church. Any suggestions? What good beginning books can I read about the episcipal church? Sorry this long. Thank you.

    • Hi Cindy,
      Welcome aboard! The length of your comment is no problem – questions are definitely welcome. You might try finding a copy of “Welcome to the Episcopal Church” by Christopher L. Webber. This is a pretty concise book with a lot of helpful info. “A User’s Guidse to the Holy Eucharist”, also by the same author, has a lot of helpful info about the typical Sunday service.
      Please feel free to ask questions anytime.

  5. I recently (this past Sunday) returned to the Episcopal Church after being told by our Catholic parish priest that my husband of 25 years and I were doing nothing more than “shacking up together” in the eyes of the Catholic Church because I hadn’t obtained an annulment to dissolve my first marriage that ended in divorce. I was stunned at the treatment I received from this priest. It wasn’t the message, but the delivery that was so disturbing. I walked out of the church in shock, dismay and sadness, knowing I could not participate any longer in a church whose priest would treat a person in such a demeaning, disrespectful way.

    The very next day, I went back to my Episcopal roots and attended an sweet little church – St. Luke’s in Auburn, California, established in 1887 – not far from where I live. I was welcomed with open arms during the offering of Peace, encouraged to join the choir, and received healing greetings from many in attendance. Little did they know the impact they were making in my life!

    While I am still disturbed, I am so grateful to have found a compassionate, caring Episcopal Church where I can worship in St. Luke’s. It is wonderful to be back home again.

    • Welcome aboard, Karen! I’m sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with your parish priest. May your new parish be a place of healing and refreshment.

      • Thank you for your kind response. Karen


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