What We Believe

What St. John’s Believes as an Episcopal Church

Whom do we worship?

We believe in a loving God who created, sustains, and loves the world.

We believe that His only Son, Jesus Christ, is the Savior of the world.

We believe in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit moves in our souls as believers of Jesus Christ and moves us toward harmony with God, ourselves and our neighbors.

What does the Episcopal Church believe about Salvation?

We believe that by God’s grace, believers are saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ.

What does the Episcopal Church believe about eternal life?

We believe, as professing Christians, that we are united with God at our deaths.  Our funeral service speaks of Christian hope in the joy of fully knowing and loving God in the next life, resting in the fullness of eternal life in anticipation of the second coming of Jesus Christ. “In death, life is changed, not ended.”

What does St. John’s believe about prayer?

Prayer is the air we breathe. Prayer is the breath we exhale. All the work of St. John’s, no matter how apparently large or small is undergirded by prayer. Our care for one another is expressed first in prayer. Our seeking God’s will is revealed through prayer. Decisions, large and small in the parish, are subjected to prayer. Faithfulness is measured by prayer.

What does the Episcopal Church believe about the Bible?

We believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and that it contains all things necessary for Salvation.

What does the Episcopal Church mean by the “inspired word of God”?

We mean that the Bible records the account of God’s desire to be in loving relationship with his Chosen People (Jewish people) and, later, those children adopted through the saving work of Jesus (everyone else). In the telling of that account, scripture reveals God’s hope for us.

What does the Episcopal Church believe about the Gospel?

We believe the Gospel (The Good News of Jesus) is the inspiration for Christians to care for those in need.  It is through Bible literacy, prayer, worship, and ministry to others in Jesus’ Name, that Episcopalians are formed and transformed into Christ’s disciples.

Is there a book that guides worship in the Episcopal Church?

The Book of Common Prayer is second only to the Bible for Episcopalians in explaining what we believe. This book of nearly 500 years guides all of our worship and much of our shared prayer life. Episcopalians throughout the world use essentially identical books. Our worship is a fully participative experience. That is the meaning of “common prayer." 

Who are the Spiritual Leaders in the Episcopal Church?

The Episcopal Church welcomes men and women, carefully screened, tested, prepared and educated, married or celibate, to be ordained as bishops, priests, and deacons. All priests and bishops hold at least a Masters’ Degree in Divinity, Theology or related disciplines. Ordained and lay persons serve side by side for the advancement of the Gospel.

What is Holy Baptism? (BCP p 299)

Holy Baptism is one of two Sacraments of the Episcopal tradition. Holy Baptism makes one a full member of Christ’s Church.  As Christians, both lay and ordained, we play active roles in worship and leadership. Baptized believers represent Christ and his Church in the world and bear witness to Christ’s presence and forgiveness in our lives.

What is Holy Communion? (BCP pp 323-382)

Holy Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper or Holy Eucharist or the Mass, is a Sacrament given to us by Jesus Christ for the continual remembrance of his life, death, resurrection, ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit.  We believe, although beyond our understanding, Christ honors his promise and is really and fully present in the consecrated bread and wine. Holy Communion can be received by any baptized person, no matter his or her age. The Eucharist and offers us grace for the forgiveness of our sins, the strengthening of our relationship with Christ and one another, and the foretaste of the eternal heavenly banquet.

What can I expect in Episcopal worship?

You can expect, guided by The Book of Common Prayer, to hear scripture read, prayers shared, music of thanksgiving and praise, lively preaching of the Good News of Jesus, and the sharing of the Lord’s Supper week by week. Holy Communion is offered to all baptized persons, no matter their age, not only members of St. John’s.

What does the Episcopal Church believe about sin and forgiveness? (BCP pp 447-452)

We believe that we all sin. We believe that God is merciful and forgives us and that we all have the opportunity to start over.

What does the Episcopal Church believe about marriage and divorce?

We affirm that marriage is lifelong and monogamous. Episcopalians also recognize that there can be grace after divorce. Remarriage, when approved, is entered into with great care and pastoral attention.

How does the Episcopal Church handle conflict?

As Episcopalians, we celebrate our unity in Christ while honoring our differences, forming Christian discipleship ahead of self, serving God’s people “with gladness and singleness of heart”.  Our motto is “All are welcome,” these are not mere words, but the foundation on which our faith is built. In all matters we seek to respect the dignity of every human being.

The Episcopal Church and St. John’s have a long and rich history of striving for social justice, inclusion, and outreach. 

Where does the Episcopal Church stand on the issues of the day?

The Episcopal Church does not offer easy answers to life’s most pressing questions of our time, because there are none.

We ask questions more often than we provide answers. Together, we explore Scripture using all the resources at hand – the best available scholarship, reason, and our own experiences in life.  We honor the tradition passed down to us through Church history and the ancient Church Mothers and Fathers. We also believe that the Holy Spirit remains active in our souls and guides us new understandings of God’s will for the world. 

If you are new to St. John’s, or to Christianity, or are just curious, we kindly invite – indeed encourage you to meet with one of our priests. We are thrilled to have time with you. Click here to arrange for one of us to call you.