We are Episcopalians
The Episcopal Church, as a denomination in the United States, was formed in the late 1700s after the American Revolution. While distinctly American, our roots go back to the Church of England and to the Roman Catholic Church. The word “episcopal” means governed by bishops (rather than a Pope), and an Episcopalian is a person who belongs to the Episcopal Church. Our denomination includes churches in the United States and 14 other countries.
As a denomination we are led by our Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev'd Michael B. Curry. As a church in the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, we are led by our Bishop, The Rt. Rev'd Russell Kendrick.
We are the Jesus Movement
we follow the via media
You will often hear Episcopalians say that we follow the "middle way" (or the “Via Media”) between the Protestant and Catholic traditions. This is because we retained many aspects of Roman Catholicism when The Church of England under King Henry VIII broke with Rome in the 1530s. At the same time we embraced many tenets of the Protestant Reformation that transformed Christianity in Europe during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The result is the Via Media; A robust spirituality that is grounded in reason, tradition and scripture. Like a three-legged stool our faith is dependent on all three legs to remain upright. Reason must be applied when studying our traditions and holy scripture. Conversely, the other two legs cannot hold the stool upright, if one leg is removed. As Episcopalians, we believe that no single aspect of our theology dominates the others. We are free to question and explore. While we may not agree on a particular topic, we believe that we are all Children of God who can have respectful conversations about our differences and still remain in community together. We believe that God loves everyone. No one is excluded from that love, and everyone is welcome.
We are Anglicans
The Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. You will hear us refer to ourselves as ‘Anglican.’ Don’t let this confuse you. The word Anglican means ‘the English Church.’ It refers to our history and connection to the Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury who is the figurehead of the Anglican Communion.