The Anglican tradition emerged in the 16th Century, during a turbulent period of reform in the church. Anglican reformers chose a "middle way" between Roman Catholicism and the various forms of Protestantism, which developed in Europe at that time. There were two main stages in the spread of Anglicanism -- the first in the 17th Century, during the colonialization in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The second stage began in the 18th Century, when missionaries traveled to Asia, Africa and South America to spread the Gospel and to establish churches.
The Episcopal Church strives to offer a moderate and inclusive approach to faith. While the church presents clear, biblically-based teaching and guidance on most subjects, we also understand that there are some issues in life that can be experienced and interpreted in different ways by different people. We encourage respectful listening, dialogue rather than debate, and "unity in diversity" among our members as we seek to live faithful and fruitful lives.
Episcopalians make extensive use of ritual, color and symbols to bring our worship alive. Central to our life in faith are the symbolic acts or rituals known as the Sacraments. Described as "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace," the Sacramental acts draw us into God's presence and allow us to fully experience the grace of God in our lives. The Sacraments celebrated in the Episcopal Church are Baptism, the Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, Confession, and Anointing With Oil.