St. Matthew’s Church is a parish in the Diocese of Georgia, part of the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. So what does that mean? Read more below. You'll find the citations for our quotes in the links throughout this page.
What is The Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church is a branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion that is based in the United States of America, but includes churches in 17 nations. We derive from the Church of England, but became independent from England shortly after the American Revolutionary War.
A major part of our Anglican heritage is our use of The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) for nearly all of our public worship. The BCP contains services for daily public and private prayer, forms for special services throughout the Church year, and the services we use for administering the Sacraments (e.g. Holy Baptism, Holy Communion, Holy Marriage, etc.). It also contains all 150 psalms for use in worship, the "Catechism," which outlines our Church's teaching on a number of subjects, and short prayers to use for all kinds of situations. You'll often pick one up when you visit St. Matthew's and we encourage everyone to keep one at home to use on a regular basis.
An icon of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
IC XC are the Greek abbreviations for "Jesus" and "Christ," respectively.
The letters around Jesus' head are the Greek for "The One Who Is," a title for God found in Exodus 3:14.
The red Book of Common Prayer can be found in the pews at St. Matthew's Church.
What do Episcopalians believe?
The Episcopal Church teaches the faith that it has received from the New Testament Church down through the ages. We affirm the historic Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed. These creeds summarize the teaching of the Bible and the universal church about God's nature as Trinity, Jesus Christ's saving work on earth, and the Holy Spirit's guidance and inspiration from ancient times to this day. We also affirm that the Christian Bible -- the books of the Old and New Testaments, and the Apocrypha -- is the Word of God that teaches us who God is and how we may be saved. Our statements of faith (the creeds) and our manner of worship are all rooted in the teachings of the Bible.
If you want to learn more about what we believe, and what our church teaches about a variety of topics, please read The Outline of the Faith (Catechism) from our Book of Common Prayer.
What do Episcopalians do?
"The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. ... The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love." (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 855).
We are part of God's big Jesus Movement around the world. We do what Christian churches everywhere do. We pray, we worship, we teach the Gospel, and we show hospitality and compassion to all whom we encounter.
Episcopalians aim to follow Jesus with their whole lives. We gather together as often as we can to praise and worship God, to receive God's grace, and to be empowered and encouraged to love and serve our neighbors in the world. Below are the "Five Marks of Mission," which outline the kinds of work we think Christians can do to follow Jesus faithfully:
To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
To respond to human need by loving service
To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
"Christianity is the world's largest religion, with upwards of 2 billion followers on every continent. It is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ who lived in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago. ... Anglicanism is one of the traditions, or expressions, of this Christian faith. Other Christian traditions include Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Protestant Churches, which include Lutheran, Baptist, and Pentecostal Churches. The word Anglican originates in ... a medieval Latin phrase ... that means the English Church, but in the past two centuries, the tradition has been adopted around the world. Now 85 million members are part of national or regional Churches that call themselves Anglican (or Episcopal in some countries) which collectively are known as the Anglican Communion."
A world map highlighting the provinces of the Anglican Communion.