The Episcopal Church is a very big tent. There’s room for everyone because we respect the curiosity and faith of all who are on the spectrum of followers of Jesus, or even outside that spectrum altogether. We are a community that discerns the truth through our relationship with scripture (our hearts), tradition (our history), and reason (our heads). This leaves us a lot of latitude to be who we are.
Our history is diversity in action – spanning the globe and going back almost two millennia. In fact, our history goes back as early as the second century CE when Christianity first came to England. People often use St. Augustine of Canterbury’s mission to England in 597 CE as the formal beginning of the church under papal authority. We stayed that way, under papal authority, through the middle ages. The Anglican Church dates its beginnings as a modern entity to the English Reformation in the 16th century when it separated from the Roman Catholic Church and became the Church of England. This change brought new ideas into the church and broadened the faith. While the Church of England’s faith is that of the earliest undivided Christian church, the practices and customs also incorporate ideas from more recent Christian movements, too. Our tradition is a blending of evangelical and catholic (Eastern and Western) Christianity in which Christians of all traditions may find a home and where each tradition enriches and fulfills the others.
The Episcopal Church has members in the United States and the territory of Puerto Rico, and also in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Venezuela, Curacao, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Haiti, Honduras, Micronesia, Taiwan, and the Virgin Islands.
The Anglican Communion
We are Anglicans as well as Episcopalians. Anglicans are Christians who practice their faith in the context of the 38 autonomous member churches, or provinces, of the Anglican Communion, which spans 165 countries worldwide, with 77 million members. One of these provinces is the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, with 2.4 million members in 112 dioceses, or geographic regions, in the United States and beyond.
This diversity of people, practice, and location brings us a church mindful of diversity and difference with a real curiosity about our faith as it works around the world and in our communities.
We are part of a heritage and tradition that includes peoples all over the world, worshipping in over 200 languages from Amharic to Zulu. On every continent, in each place, this tradition plays out in ways that invite people into the big tent that is our Church.