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WHAT IS AN "EPISCOPAL" CHURCH?

The Episcopal Church in the United States of America has its origin in the Anglican Church or Church of England, which formed during the Reformation in the sixteenth century. After the American Revolution of the 1700s, the Anglicans in America formed an independent church in the town of Philadelphia. Due to sentiments following the Revolutionary War, the English refused to ordain the first American bishop, Samuel Seabury. A small group of Anglicans existed in Scotland and consented to consecrate Seabury. That church was called the Scottish Episcopal Church and exists until this day.

The term "episcopal" is from the Greek term episkopos (episkopos), which literally means "bishop." Although the American Episcopal Church is very democratic in its government (meaning bishops, priests, and laity participate in the councils of the church), the term episcopal refers to a church that is governed by bishops. Episcopalians believe in the "apostolic succession" or unbroken line of succession through its bishops since the first apostles of Jesus in the first century A.D. There would be no Episcopal Church without the bishops, and the participation of the members of the other orders of ministers – the laity, deacons, and priests (Book of Common Prayer, p15).

As part of the Anglican tradition, we describe ourselves as the Via Media (or "the middle way"). We are a bridge between the Catholic tradition (dating from the Early Church) and Reformed Protestantism (the roots of which are traceable to the 14th century). In other words we inherited many gifts, such as customs and beliefs, from the Roman Catholic tradition. This is one reason many of our visitors state that our manner of worship is similar to the "Catholic Church." At the same time, we are beneficiaries of the Reformation – chiefly an emphasis on reading and interpreting the Bible, and empowering the laity to share in the ministries of the Church.

St. Francis Episcopal Church
P.O. Box 11406
503 Forest Hill Dr.
Goldsboro, NC 27532
Voice: 919-735-9845
Fax: 919-735-9893
E-mail:
parish@stfrancisgoldsboro.org
Our church is completely
handicapped accessible.

The Reverend Marcia McRae, Priest-in-Charge,
may be reached by e-mail at parish@stfrancisgoldsboro.org or call the Parish Office.

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