What is the Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church is the the American branch of the world wide Anglican Communion, a group of churches tracing their roots to the Church of England. The Church is made up of between two and three million worshipers in about 7500 congregations across the United States. The fundamental structure of the larger Episcopal Church is that of Dioceses lead by Bishops elected by the local membership. Grace Church is part of the Diocese of Ohio, covering the Northern half of Ohio. In 2004 The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr. was ordained and consecrated as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Ohio.
What Do Episcopalians Believe?
For those who are looking for a church home, it is helpful to have an idea of what we in the Episcopal Church believe. We believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that we receive grace and redemption in Jesus Christ. We receive these through the love of God in Christ, not by our own merit. Our worship service includes Scripture readings, prayer, music, and Holy Communion. Communion and Baptism are the two great sacraments given by Christ to his Church. We have a three-fold source of authority for beliefs and doctrine in the Episcopal Church: Scripture, tradition, and reason tempered by experience. These are at the foundation of our beliefs.
Our roots go back to the Church of England and the British Isles. We are also known as “Anglicans” and members of the world wide Anglican Communion. A key part of our tradition has been the “Via Media” or “middle way”. This describes the Anglican pursuit of a middle road between the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant reformers. Currently, we pursue the “middle way” in trying to hear and consider all sides of thorny or divisive issues and work toward an approach that embraces all. The result is, in any one parish, we might have conservatives and liberals with very different ideas and stances, yet we still WORSHIP TOGETHER and make every effort to LOVE and RESPECT one another in spite of differences. The Episcopal Church continues work in ecumenical efforts and working with other denominations with the spirit and hope of unity. We are now in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
Two main sources that briefly outline our beliefs are The Creeds (Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed) and The Catechism, both found in the Book of Common Prayer. The rector (priest/pastor) is willing to meet with anyone who would like to explore and learn more about the Church. We WELCOME visitors, explorers, or those looking for a church home. Most Episcopalians would agree that worship, fellowship, and ministries and outreach, in which we take part (at Church and in the community) are a meaningful part of our lives.