At our core...
We believe that Jesus Christ, the only son of God the Father, is God incarnate, given to be a sacrfice for sin and also an example of Godly life. In Christ, we believe that we are given grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the steps of his life, led and guided by God the Holy Spirit. We believe that Christ's light shines in the darkness, and no matter how dark or perverse or lost we become, the darkness does not and cannot overcome that light.
We consider the Bible to be fundamental to life as a Christian and believe that "the Scriptures contain all things necessary for salvation". We believe that the Christian life involves regular praise and prayer, both private and public, and that Christians must practise what they preach and pray - both on Sundays (the day when we normally gather for worship) and every day, as we seek to live out our worship.
WHAT IS DISTINCTIVE ABOUT EPISCOPALIANS?
The Episcopal Church is the American branch of the Anglican Communion. Anglicanism stands squarely in the Reformed tradition, yet considers itself just as directly descended from the Early Church as the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches. How we celebrate the Eucharist (also known as the “Mass” or the "Lord's Supper") will likely be familiar to those from these traditions. What differentiates us is our commitment to Scripture over and above any single tradition or hierarchy, such as the pope.
Rather than saying Anglicanism is confessionally Protestant – like Lutheranism or Calvinism – it would be more accurate to say that it is catholic (believing it is still part of God’s one Church and having bishops as Church leaders) but reformed (in that it shares the principles of other Christian Churches that separated from the Roman Catholic Church in 16th Century in what has become known as the Protestant Reformation).
Unique to Anglicanism is the Book of Common Prayer, the collection of worship services that all worshipers in an Anglican church follow. It’s called “common prayer” because we all pray it together, around the world. The first Book of Common Prayer was compiled in English by Thomas Cranmer in the 16th Century, and since then has undergone many revisions for different times and places. But its original purpose has remained the same: To provide in one place the core of the instructions and rites for Anglican Christians to worship together.
Anglicans agree that their beliefs and practices are derived from an integration of Scripture (the Bible of the Old and New Testaments), Reason (the intellect and the experience of God) and Tradition (the practices and beliefs of the historical church). In other words, we believe that God's revelation in Holy Scripture is the ultimate authority in our church, but we recognize that Christians must employ their reason and be attentive to tradition when searching to understand its meaning. These three elements are often described as the "three-legged stool of Anglican authority" to demonstrate a "balance" in the Anglican approach to faith. The term via media when used in reference to the Anglican tradition generally refers to the idea that Anglicanism represents a middle way between confessional Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.