St. Mary's on the Highlands Episcopal Church
Saturday, May 18, 2013
St. Mary's-on-the-Highlands is an Episcopal Church. We are part of the Diocese of Alabama, a community of 92 congregations with more than 30,000 members. Our congregations, worshipping communities, campus ministry centers, and outreach ministries are located throughout central and northern Alabama.
What is the Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church (TEC) is the United States province of the Anglican Communion. TEC has 2.4 million members in 112 dioceses divided into nine geographical provinces. It is governed by a bicameral General Convention, which meets every three years, and by an Executive Council during interim years.
What is the Anglican Communion?
The Anglican Communion is comprised of Christians who practice their faith in the context of the 38 autonomous member churches, or provinces (including TEC), which span 164 countries worldwide with 77 million members. Anglicans and Episcopalians are persons of many ethnic and cultural heritages. Anglicans are known for welcoming diversity of opinion and inquiry. Clergy within the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion are men and women who are ordained as bishops (after being elected in local dioceses), priests and deacons. Clergy often have spouses while others are single. Anglicanism found its distinctive identity in the sixteenth and seventeenth century Reformation, when the separate Church of England, along with the Church of Ireland and the Scottish Episcopal Church, came into being. At the time of the American Revolution, an autonomous Episcopal Church was founded in the United States, and later Anglican or Episcopal churches were founded across the globe as a result of the missionary movements of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Anglicans and Episcopalians practice a faith that is liturgically and theologically a bridge between Catholicism and Protestant traditions. Anglicans and Episcopalians value a balance of scripture, reason and tradition as set forth by 16th-century English theologian Richard Hooker.
What Do Anglicans and Episcopalians Believe?
Anglican/Episcopal churches such as St. Mary's uphold and proclaim the Catholic and Apostolic faith, proclaimed in the Scriptures, interpreted in the light of tradition and reason. Following the teachings of Jesus Christ, Anglicans are committed to the proclamation of the good news of the Gospel to all creation. Our faith and ministry have been expressed through the Book of Common Prayer, received and adapted by local churches, in the Services of Ordination (the Ordinal), and in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, first expounded at the missionary Conference in Chicago in 1886, and revised by the Lambeth Conference of 1888.
The quadrilateral sets out four essential elements of the Christian faith:
1. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as containing all things necessary to salvation, and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.
2. The Apostles' Creed, as the baptismal symbol.
3. The Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.
4. The two Sacraments ordained by Christ himself - Baptism and the Supper of the Lord - ministered with unfailing use of Christ's words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him. The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church.