The roots of the Episcopal Church lie in the Church of England, which separated from the Roman Catholic Church nearly five hundred years ago. While no longer recognizing the authority of the Pope, the Church of England retained many rituals and practices, such as keeping many of the same prayers, having deacons, priests and bishops, and celebrating Communion on a regular basis.
To give you a taste of what Episcopal spirituality is like, we are:
Liturgical & Biblical – Episcopal spirituality is rooted in communal daily prayer. Our way of praying tends to have more structure and is shaped by the Scriptures.
Communal – For Episcopalians, communal prayer comes before and shapes personal prayer. Prayer is a practice that connects us to God and to each other, and includes the living and the dead.
Sacramental – Episcopalians see the world as sacramental, that is, as capable of mediating God’s presence and grace. We emphasize the two primary sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, but also acknowledge other sacramental rites such as Confirmation, Holy Matrimony and Ordination.
Incarnational – Episcopalians emphasize the incarnation, God’s decision to enter into human life and history through Jesus. Accordingly, Episcopalians have an earthy spirituality that affirms the goodness of life, including the body and the created world.
Mystical – Episcopalians experience union with God as happening over time, bit by bit through a journey aided by spiritual discipline and prayer.
Comprehensive – Episcopalians believe the truth is often found in the tension between extremes. We are not “black-and-white” thinkers, but instead affirm the ambiguity of experience and value learning to tolerate and embrace complexity and ambiguity in many aspects of human life and in the spiritual journey.
Open-minded – Episcopalians are a people of questioning faith. We search for wisdom in many places an encourage people to listen to each other and to bring their honest questions to the spiritual life.
Political – Episcopalians believe that Christian life has political implications and that civil life is both a legitimate and important place for a Christian’s calling to be expressed.
(from A People Called Episcopalians by John Westerhoff)
As an Episcopal church, we are also part of a wider community of Christians in western Washington called the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia , which is part of the Episcopal Church. We are also part of a worldwide community of churches called the Anglican Communion.