Episcopalians Are A Unique Breed
Episcopalians value thoughtful decision making and personal freedom, while at the same time believing in a strong sense of common good to benefit everyone in society. Our values are rooted in scripture, reason and tradition. Scripture is at the root of our worship and theology, but we are not biblical literalists; that is, we study scripture in a reasoned way in its historical context. We believe that discernment about God’s will for Creation happens through the tradition of the Christian community in thoughtful conversations, dialogue and decision making through the centuries.
History of the Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church descends from the Church of England which evolved from the Roman Catholic Church. Like Martin Luther, John Calvin and other reformers in the 16th century, the Church of England protested the Pope’s authority; these protesters became known as Protestants. So the Church of England, and the Episcopal Church in the United States, are both catholic (heritage going back to the earliest Christian disciples) and protestant (protesting the authority of any one bishop such as the Pope). We are often called the via media, or middle way.
The Episcopal Church developed in the United States at the same time as the U.S. government. Many early American patriots were Anglicans (e.g. Washington, Jefferson, Madison), having come from the Church of England. So as the American Revolution nurtured a new form of democratic government, so, too, a new church was nurtured.