The Episcopal Church is the Province of the Anglican Communion in the United States and most other territories where it has a presence (excluding Europe). In keeping with Anglican tradition and theology, the Episcopal Church considers itself "Protestant, yet catholic". In 2009, the Episcopal Church had a baptized membership of 2,175,616 both inside and outside the U.S. In the United States, it had a baptized membership of 2,006,343, making it the nation's fifteenth largest denomination.
The center of Episcopal teaching is the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The basic teachings of the church, or catechism, include:
- Jesus Christ is fully human and fully God. He died and was resurrected from the dead.
- Jesus provides the way of eternal life for those who believe.
- God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit, are one God, and are called the Holy Trinity, "Three and yet one."
- The Old and New Testaments of the Bible were written by people "under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit." The Apocrypha are additional books that are used in Christian worship, but not for the formation of doctrine.
- The two great and necessary sacraments are Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist.
- Other sacramental rites are confirmation, ordination, marriage, reconciliation of a penitent, and unction.
- Belief in heaven, hell, and Jesus' return in glory.
- Emphasis on living out the Greatest Commandment to love God and neighbor fully, as found in the Gospel of Matthew 22:36-40
The Mission of St. Mary's
Together we will serve the Lord.
Our mission at St. Mary's is to love others as God loves us, through offering our love unconditionally, sharing our God-Given gifts and talents with our parish and community, affirming the various ministries that so richly feed our parish and neighbors, developing an ongoing life connected with the members and friends of St. Mary's, and encouraging a variety of spiritual journeys within the broad tradition of the Episcopal Church.
The Goals of St. Mary's
- Spiritual growth and development.
- Congregational growth in numbers and diversity.
- Community development in and beyond the parish.
- Christian education: biblical, leadership, and social.