All baptized Christians—no matter what age or denomination—are welcome to receive Holy Communion at St. James' Episcopal Church. Visitors who are not baptized Christians are welcome to come forward during Communion to receive a blessing from the priest. All people are welcome at St. James regardless of age, background, ethnicity, sexual orientation, prior church attendance, lack of prior church attendance, etc. This is God’s church and God loves and welcomes all.
What is the Episcopal Church?
The American Episcopal Church is made up of three million worshipers in over 7500 congregations across the United States and a few related dioceses outside the US. The American Episcopal Church is also a member of the world-wide Anglican Communion which traces its roots back to the Church of England.
A Brief History
During the Reformation in England in the 16th Century, King Henry VIII declared the Church of England independent of the Roman Catholic Church. The Church of England became a self-governing church with the monarch as its head. This came about because of many political and theological factors. Regardless of the catalyst, the English Reformation gave rise to a distinct form of Christianity known today as Anglicanism.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England, is acknowledged as the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion. While respected as the spiritual leader of the Communion, the Archbishop does not have direct authority over any province outside of the Church of England.
Membership at St. James' Episcopal Church
Current members, as well as newcomers to St. James', sometimes ask, "What does membership in a church entail?"
The below statement about membership is intended to establish greater clarity about what being a member of St. James' really means. It is valid for all of us to call St. James' home, even those who are considering becoming members.
The Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer (our prayer book) defines the duty of all Christians in the following way:
"The duty of all Christians is to follow Christ; to come together week by week for worship, work, and prayers to spread of the Kingdom of God."
Here at St. James' we interpret this to mean:
- Being a regular attendee at public worship, usually the Sunday morning Eucharist.
- Having a "Letter of Transfer" or a "Parishioner Information Form" on file in St. James' Office so that we have accurate personal records.
- Sharing in the visible mission of St. James' through one of its many service groups, educational opportunities, or other ministries, while keeping in mind that we are committed to bearing witness to God in Christ both to the parish and to the wider community and world.
St. James is committed to Jesus' commission to make and be disciples in the world. We are called to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves and respecting the dignity of every human being.
- Praying for the grace to serve God more effectively as an individual as well as a community of believers.
- Maintaining a financial commitment (pledge) or other "contribution of record" that supports the life and ministry of St. James' Episcopal Church as one is able - everyone is welcome regardless of ability to pledge.