We met this past Sunday to start our inquirer’s class about the Episcopal Church. Here are some of the questions we discussed and a few definitions/descriptions of the Episcopal Church. How would you answer some of these questions? Feel free to send a message here.

A People Called Episcopalians: Week One (Introduction)

Discussion Questions:

  • What words come to mind when you hear the word “Episcopal” or Episcopalian?
  • Why are you in (or considering joining the Episcopal church?)
  • What are your biggest questions about the Episcopal Church? What is one thing you’ve always wondered about?
  • What is something you deeply value about the Episcopal church?

We will be taking some time to develop a working definition of the Episcopal Church…

Some examples:

“Anglican Christianity is a way of following Jesus that is rooted in the Bible and the sacraments of the church, united by shared ways of praying.” (Walk In Love: Episcopal Beliefs and Practices, Introduction, XVI).

“Increasingly diverse (people) who gather around shared convictions about prayer, liturgy, church government and–most importantly–the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. We’re a place that welcomes random questions and eccentric personalities. We’re a peculiar people whose spiritual arc bends more toward boundless hope and a reasonable faith than hardened surety and entrenched absolutism. Convictions are solid, but questions are welcomed.” (Episcopal Handbook, Introduction xiv)

“If the Episcopal Church has a magisterium it clearly must be the Book of Common Prayer. It is that book that helps Episcopalians discover they are joined to people across time and space….That does not mean that the liturgy is or must be the same in every setting, but it does mean that we do things as Episcopalians that make it possible to recognize in vastly different contexts that we are worshiping the same God.” (Hauerwas previously describes these liturgies as being “enacted by that confused and confusing church identified as “The Episcopal Church,” though this is a place where we obviously encounter God. (Common Prayer, Foreword, xviii, Pagano and Richter).

Here’s the plan for the upcoming weeks. Please join us after mass this coming Sunday.

  • Introduction (What does it mean to be Episcopalian? What questions do you have? What has brought you to the church? What has kept you?)
  • Episcopal Identity (What are the distinctives of our tradition? Where is it situated historically/theologically/culturally? Are we protestant/catholic/reformed/other?)
  • Episcopal Authority (How do we discern and discover spiritual truth? What sources do we look to? How do we handle differences?)
  • Episcopal Spirituality (“Doing” Liturgy, How do we view the Sacraments? What is the connection between worship and the “common life”?)
  • Episcopal Temperament (HOW are we with one another? In what ways do we hold our convictions? What does our baptismal covenant ask of us?)
  • Episcopal Polity (How is our church structured? What is its relationship to other churches? What is my role/vocation within the church?)
  • Wrap-up/Conclusions (What remaining questions do you have? What is missing? What will we do with this?)