About the Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is made up of more than 80 million members in 44 regional and national member churches in more than 160 countries. The Episcopal Church is divided into geographic areas known as dioceses. Church of the Advent is part of the Diocese of Kentucky, one of two dioceses in our Commonwealth.
Some say that we’re a church of refugees, which is to say 70% of Episcopalians weren’t born that way. Most of us came from other Christian denominations or from no church background at all. So what’s the draw?
Since many converts come as adults, chances are logic and reason play a role in a person’s decision to become Episcopalian. The Episcopal Church has consistently been called a “middle road” – a “via media” – between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. We bring the reverence and rootedness of the ancient tradition alongside a clear devotion to the Bible and priesthood of all believers.
While we believe we are a spiritual path and way more than a required set of beliefs, basic traditional beliefs are expressed in the Book of Common Prayer, and especially in the Catechism (page 845). Worship and sacramental life in The Episcopal Church are centered around the use of the Book of Common Prayer.
The foundation of faith in The Episcopal Church is often described using the image of a three-legged stool. The first leg of the stool is Holy Scripture. The catechism in the Prayer Book says of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament that “God inspired their human authors” and that “God still speaks to us through the Bible” (BCP 853). The Old Testament conveys the story of the covenant relationship between Israel and God. The New Testament reveals the Incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Holy Scripture serves as the touchstone of our lives.
The second leg of the stool is tradition. Tradition consists of the wisdom and teaching of those generations of saints who have gone before us. Tradition guides our living and our interpretation of Scripture.
The third leg of the stool is reason. We understand our human reason to be a gift from God. Therefore, the use of reason in interpreting Scripture, engaging the past Tradition of the Church, and navigating through the contingencies of our world is highly valued in The Episcopal Church.
Some people become Episcopalians because of our views on Holy Communion, women’s ordination, human rights, or full inclusion of LGBT people. Some love the music. Others marry into the church. And some come because it’s convenient, as there are over 7,000 Episcopal Church congregations in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. No matter why people come, we like to think that we are a place of welcome and inclusion, with warmth and joy, understanding and hope.