THE EPISCOPAL TRADITION
How We Worship
The way we worship and receive the sacraments are what draws many people to the Episcopal Church. Our church is liturgical, which refers to those things we "do" every time we gather to worship. Our liturgy consists of all the lessons, psalms, prayers, preaching, and sacraments of the church, which are spelled out in the Book of Common Prayer (the red book in the pew rack).
If you are unfamiliar with this type of worship, you may wonder if the structure would be confining. Those who have become accustomed to it have found that there is a certain "peace of predictability" that allows the Holy Spirit to shine through. The use of liturgy rather than ideological viewpoints or cultural characteristics allows greater inclusion and diversity within our Episcopal worship experience. Our liturgical style is also similar to that used by first-century Christians and others throughout history. Liturgy not only spiritually links us with each other, but also to other Christians who have gone before us.
The Episcopal Church recognizes Sacraments in its Tradition. "Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace" (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 857). The Sacraments, Baptism and Eucharist (Communion), are the two "great sacraments of the Gospel" and were instituted by Jesus.
The other sacramental rites are Confirmation, Reconciliation (Confession), Anointing of the Sick (Unction), Holy Matrimony, and Ordination. "Although they are means of grace, they are not necessary for all persons in the same way that Baptism and the Eucharist are" (BCP, p. 860).
If you wish to know more about the Sacraments, please see The Book of Common Prayer or make an appointment with one of the priests of the Parish. They will be most happy to talk with you.