Official Church teachings can be found in the Catechism in the Book of Common Prayer. However, at St. Mary's Church we believe that asking the right questions is more important than the answers we come up with. Our approach to belief is best summarized in the motto Lex orandi, Lex credendi, which essentially means that it is in our worship that we express our beliefs and that, in itself, is a form of authority. In other words, if you want to know what we believe, come and observe how we worship in community, where those beliefs will be connected to our teaching, our actions, our hopes, our faith, and our commitments to God and to one another.
Some of our basic beliefs are outlined below. At St. Mary's you will find people who share these beliefs, and some who aren't so sure about them. Regardless, we respect and love one another and worship together in unity and faith.
We believe in Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
The Mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. We pursue this mission as we pray and worship, proclaim the Gospel, and promote justice, peace, and love.
The Creeds are some of the oldest articulations of Christian Faith. They summarize our beliefs. "Creeds" are nothing more than "articles of faith," or "statements of belief," used by followers to help them focus on what the most important aspects of their faith and teachings are. The Episcopal Church recognizes the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed as correct teachings of the Christian Faith. Together we recite the creeds and through them we come to better understand the nature and purpose of our worship together.
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 are men, women, children of all races, genders, and sexualities, from all professions, education levels, and backgrounds. Out of our diversity we celebrate our united faith in Jesus Christ, our hope of realizing God's dream for humanity, and are committed to living lives of charity and compassion toward one another in community, and with all people everywhere.
We’re following Jesus into loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, with each other and with the earth. Jesus launched this movement when he welcomed the first disciples to follow his loving, liberating, life-giving Way. Today, we participate in his movement with our whole lives: our prayer, worship, teaching, preaching, gathering, healing, action, family, work, play and rest.
The Jesus Movement is the ongoing community of people who center their lives on Jesus and following him into loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, each other and creation. In all things, we seek to be loving, liberating and life-giving—just like the God who formed all things in love; liberates us all from prisons of mind, body and spirit; and gives life so we can participate in the resurrection and healing of God’s world.
How can we together grow more deeply with Jesus Christ at the center of our lives, so we can bear witness to his way of love in and for the world? The deep roots of our Christian tradition offers a pattern is known as a “Rule of Life.” By entering into reflection, discernment and commitment around the practices of Turn - Learn - Pray - Worship - Bless - Go - Rest, we will grow as communities following the loving, liberating, life-giving way of Jesus. His way has the power to change each of our lives and to change this world.
Children deserve parents who can give them the love and support they need as they grow to adulthood. Marriage is an important part of the Church. However, every family is different and deserves respect regardless of its dynamics.
As members of the Jesus Movement, we promise to protect and renew this good Earth and all who call it home. We promise to share our stories, to stand with those who are most vulnerable (both human and all other creatures), and to live more gently on the Earth.
Hundreds of our friends and loved ones come through St. Mary's Church each week to find support and comfort as they strive to overcome addiction to alcohol, drugs, and other patterns of behavior that have destructive effects on their lives. We support them and pledge to offer a helping hand along their journey.
We understand that our donors work hard for their money, which is why as a religious non-profit organization all of our financial documents, budgets, and grant requests are made available to the public.
The Episcopal Church affirms the gifts and value of every human being, and has been active in its support of all people regardless of sexuality and gender. The Church has been blessed by the leadership and love of many LGBT clergy, including bishops, and in most dioceses clergy are able to officiate and bless the marriage of LGBT persons. LGBT people participate fully in the life of St. Mary's Church. St. Mary's is committed to providing a safe place for all of God's children.
Reconciliation is the spiritual practice of seeking loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God and one another, and striving to heal and transform injustice and brokenness in ourselves, our communities, institutions and society. We seek to become the "Beloved Community" spoken of by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others-- a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one’s fellow human beings.
Episcopalians are passionate about proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ in our words and actions. Through the spiritual practice of evangelism, we seek, name and celebrate Jesus’ loving presence in the stories of all people - then invite everyone to MORE.
Wealth inequality in our country makes it harder and harder for families to live the American Dream. The Episcopal Church seeks to build and enhance communities committed to transforming unjust structures in societies, and to accompany and enrich the ministry of Episcopalians working to be catalysts for equality, justice, and transformation within their communities.
Men and women play important roles in every position of leadership and authority in the Episcopal Church and at St. Mary's Church. We believe that women should be treated equally in all aspects of life, therefore at St. Mary's a woman can and do fulfill any role that a man can. For an overview of the history of the ordination of women in the Anglican Communion, Click Here.
The threefold sources of authority in Anglicanism are scripture, tradition, and reason. These three sources uphold and critique each other in a dynamic way. Scripture is the normative source for God's revelation and the source for all Christian teaching and reflection. Tradition passes down from generation to generation the church's ongoing experience of God's presence and activity. Reason is understood to include the human capacity to discern the truth in both rational and intuitive ways. It is not limited to logic as such. It takes into account and includes experience. Each of the three sources of authority must be perceived and interpreted in light of the other two.