“What kind of church are you?”
This is a question people who visit St. Andrew’s often ask. Well, the short answer to the question is “Episcopal” but that answer usually raises another question, “What’s ‘episcopal’?” The Episcopal Church (TEC) is part of a world-wide community of churches that have their historic roots in both the ancient ‘catholic’ forms of church and the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Our most immediate ancestor is the Church of England or the Anglican Church.
When English explorers first came to this country they brought their Church with them. But after the American Revolution, we became a uniquely American expression of the Church of England – The Episcopal Church. This very brief history may help to explain what you will experience if you come to a Sunday worship service. We celebrate the sacrament of Holy Eucharist (Mass, Holy Communion) every Sunday so that our worship is very similar to Roman Catholicism. But our Protestant Reformation roots are evident in the strong emphasis on reading Holy Scripture and biblical preaching.
We ordain men and women as bishops, priests and deacons but we encourage the ministry of all baptized persons. Each member of the Church has unique gifts which they have been given in order to serve God’s Church and God’s World. Therefore lay people have a very important role in the life, governance and mission of the church. Finally, while it is very interesting that St. Andrew’s is an Episcopal Church, what really matters is that we are a Christian Church – called to love God, follow in the Way of Life of Jesus and love and serve others in God’s world by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.