The Episcopal Church, the Anglican tradition, and Resources
- What We Believe
- Who We Are: The Episcopal Church
- What Is the Anglican Communion?
- LGBTQ Inclusion
- Episcopal Church Resources
- Spiritual Resources
- ECY Documents
We Episcopalians believe in a loving, liberating, and life-giving God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As constituent members of the Anglican Communion in the United States, we are descendants of and partners with the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church, and are part of the third largest group of Christians in the world.
We believe in following the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection saved the world.
We have a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being; people of all genders serve as bishops, priests, and deacons in our church. Laypeople and clergy cooperate as leaders at all levels of our church. Leadership is a gift from God, and can be expressed by all people in our church, regardless of sexual identity or orientation.
We believe that God loves you – no exceptions.
The Episcopal Church (TEC) is a member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion based in the United States with dioceses in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Jerusalem, and Taiwan. It is a mainline Christian denomination divided into nine provinces. The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church is Michael Bruce Curry, the first African-American bishop to serve in that position.
The church, which today includes approximately 3 million members, was organized after the American Revolution, when it became separate from the Church of England. The Episcopal Church describes itself as both Protestant and Catholic, merging practices and theologies of both and developing its own unique character. The Book of Common Prayer, a collection of traditional rites, blessings, liturgies, and prayers used throughout the Anglican Communion, is central our Episcopal worship.
The Episcopal Church is part of the world-wide Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is one of the world’s largest Christian communities. It has tens of millions of members in more than 165 countries around the globe. Anglicanism is one of the major traditions or expressions of Christian faith. The Communion is organized into a series of provinces and extra- provincial areas. The provinces are subdivided into dioceses, and the dioceses into parishes. There are 40 provinces and, from March 2019, five extra-provincial areas. See here for a full list. Some provinces are national, others are regional. All are in communion – or a reciprocal relationship – with the See of Canterbury and recognize the Archbishop of Canterbury as the Communion’s spiritual head. But there is no central authority in the Anglican Communion. All of the provinces are autonomous and free to make their own decisions in their own ways – guided by recommendations from the four Instruments: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council.
For more information see: https://www.anglicancommunion.org/
Statement of the Episcopal Church at Yale
On the Full Inclusion of LGBTQ Persons
March 1, 2019
The Episcopal Church at Yale (ECY) is a community of extravagant welcome and full inclusion of all of God’s children, including individuals who identify as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning). We are aware of the trauma which LGBTQ persons have experienced and continue to experience at the hands of various religious denominations and organizations, and seek to be agents of healing, justice and reconciliation. We are part of The Episcopal Church (TEC) which consists of 100 dioceses in the United States proper, 11 dioceses in other countries or outlying U.S. territories, and the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe. Following are some historical highlights of Episcopal Church action:
1976: The Episcopal Church declares that “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church.”
1977: Ellen Barrett is ordained as the first openly lesbian priest. Since then, numerous openly gay and lesbian clergy have been ordained or come out of the closet.
1997: The Episcopal Church “…apologizes to its members who are gay or lesbian and to lesbians and gay men outside the Church for years of rejection and maltreatment by the Church; . . . That this Church repents of its sins committed against lesbian and gay people—physical, psychological and spiritual—through covert and overt action and inaction. We seek amendment of our life together and we ask for God’s help in sharing the Good News with all people.”
2003: Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop, is consecrated.
2012: A provisional rite of blessing for same-gender relationships is authorized, and discrimination against transgender persons in the ordination process is prohibited.
2015: The canons of the church are changed to make the rite of marriage available to all people, regardless of gender.
2018: The Episcopal Church’ approves expanding marriage rites for same-sex couples to all dioceses, including those which had continued to oppose it.
Canon law includes “gender identity or expression” in its list of persons who are assured full access to the ministry of the church. The law further specifies that administrative forms must include options for both preferred and legal names, and for gender identity and pronoun preference.
Integrity USA is a national organization working for the full inclusion of GLBTQ Episcopalians and their allies, and ECY recently partnered with several other local Episcopal churches to revive a New Haven chapter.
To our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning brothers, sisters and siblings, we say: “The Episcopal Church welcomes you!”
• TEC Young Adult and Campus Ministry https://www.episcopalchurch.org/young-adult-and-campus-ministries
• The Young Adult Service Corps provides opportunities for overseas missionary work for young adults: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/young-adult-service-corps
• TEC’s Episcopal Service Corps provides an experience of young adults living in intentional community, serving their neighborhoods, sharing in faith formation, and discerning vocational direction, in projects across the United States: https://episcopalservicecorps.org/
• The Episcopal News Service (ENS) offers up-to-date news about the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/author/episcopal-news-service
• Advocacy: The Episcopal Public Policy Network provides advocacy activities and information about the church’s official position on a broad range of social issues: https://advocacy.episcopalchurch.org/?1
• Integrity USA: For more than four decades, Integrity USA has been working for the full equality of LGBTQ persons in every part of The Episcopal Church. For more information: http://www.integrityusa.org/
There are many resources that will support you in your spiritual journey. The most powerful one is joining a faith community which will provide companionship and encouragement along the way.
The Book of Common Prayer is the basic worship resource of the Episcopal Church. It has a wide variety of resources including the rites and rituals of the church, the Psalms, an extraordinary breadth of prayers for virtually any occasion, and a Catechism, which answers basic questions about an Episcopal understanding of questions of faith (https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/book_of_common_prayer.pdf).
The Bible is the fundamental resource of Christians who seek to understand God’s presence and action in the world from the beginnings of creation through the story of God’s chosen people, the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the spread of the early Christian movement. There are many translations of the Bible, and the Episcopal Church uses the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), because of both its scholarly and ecumenical emphasis (http://www.allsaintstupelo.com/Bible_NRSV.pdf ).
Here are some other resources that will support your prayer life and a growing intimacy with God:
The Society of St. John the Evangelist (https://www.ssje.org/). is an Episcopal monastic community located near Harvard Square in Cambridge MA. It offers retreats, day programs, internships, and a variety of other resources, including a wonderful daily meditation: https://www.ssje.org/word/.
The Center for Action and Contemplation (https://cac.org/) is directed by Richard Rohr, OFM, and offers a variety of retreats, publications and inspirational materials, including a powerful daily meditation (https://cac.org/category/daily-meditations/).
The Frederick Buechner Center offers a daily quote from this famous theologian, author, and preacher: http://www.frederickbuechner.com/quote-of-the-day.