Frequently asked questions
... answered by Mother Marjorie Bevans
1. Are you Catholic?
No, we are not Roman Catholic, but we are "Catholic." Being "Catholic" means we are part of the one, ancient undivided Church, the whole Body of Christ. We are in the Anglican (English) part of the Catholic Church.
2. Why then do you look like the Roman Catholic Church?
We descended from the Roman Catholic Church after the English Reformation. We kept the style of worship and spirituality, holy orders, i.e. bishops, priests and deacons, and the practice of infant baptism, but we do not have a pope. We have the Archbishop of Canterbury.
3. Do you believe in the Bible?
We believe the Bible to be the supreme, authoritative Word of God. God reveals himself, his purposes and his plans for the future in the whole Bible. The Gospels and the rest of the New Testament are of the highest importance, because it is where we learn about Jesus and the kingdom of God. We understand the Word of God through prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
4. How do you use the Bible?
The Bible is Holy Scripture for us. It is so important that three lessons, one from the Old Testament, two from the New Testament, and a psalm are read or recited by the congregation at every Sunday service. The sermon is always based on the Bible, and we emphasize life-long Bible study for everyone.
5. What is sin?
Sin is any thought, feeling or action that goes against God's revealed will. Sin becomes a barrier between us and God, and us and other people.
6. Can sinners come to your church?
We believe all human beings 'have fallen short of the glory of God' and are in need of the salvation of their souls by Jesus Christ in the Church. We believe repentant sinners, i.e. those who are sorry for their sins, what they have done with their lives, or done to others, are the reason the Church is here. We believe the Church is "not a country club for saints, but a hospital for sinners."
7. Why do you baptize babies when they cannot speak for themselves?
We baptize babies because they are born children of God. Baptizing them makes them full members of the Church, so they belong to Jesus Christ and they are Christian. The parents, godparents and members of the parish promise to raise the child in the church, so that the child will come to know and love Christ, and at a later age accept him as Lord and Savior for themselves. This is normally done around the age of 12, and we call it "Confirmation."
8. Why do you have female and married priests?
We believe there is nothing in the Bible that forbids female and married priests from being called by God to serve in the Church.
9. Why do you have communion so frequently?
We believe God's grace is given to the Christian who prayerfully and reverently receives both the Body and Blood of Christ. Jesus instructed the disciples to do this at the Last Supper in remembrance of Him and for the forgiveness of our sins. We repent and confess our sins before we receive God's grace in communion. Communion early on the first day of the week, the Day of Resurrection, has been practiced since the times of the Acts of the Apostles.
10. How do I become a member of your church?
If you are not yet baptized, you can receive instruction in the Christian faith and baptism. When you are baptized you are then a member of the Body of Christ and Good Shepherd.
If you are baptized, you can become an Episcopalian by receiving additional instruction about the Episcopal Church and being confirmed by the bishop. As a confirmed Episcopalian, you would also be a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion.