About the Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church (TEC), sometimes called the Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA) or by its incorporated name, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (DFMS).
Episcopalians consider themselves only one part of the universal church, and should you choose to sojourn with us, your experience as a Christian from another tradition will be considered a strength. We accept the sacraments of other churches as valid, including baptism and confirmation.
We are a western liturgical church, descended from the Church of England but completely self governing. The association of daughter churches of the Church of England is called the Anglican Communion and is the third largest family of churches in the world. We are often thought of as a "Bridge Church" between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in light of to the unique way the Protestant Reformation happened in England. Due to the ecumenical liturgical consensus reached during the last century, most western liturgical worship is very similar. Lutherans and Roman Catholics will find our services at least somewhat familiar.
Our central act of worship is the Holy Eucharist, also called Holy Communion or The Mass. All baptized Christians are welcome to partake of the bread and wine. Episcopalians believe that the true presence of Christ enters the bread and wine during the Eucharistic prayer, but we do not subscribe to any particular philosophical definition of how this happens, such as transubstantiation or consubstantiation.
The Episcopal Church preserves the historic three-fold orders of ordained ministry (Bishop, Priest, and Deacon) as handed done to us from the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church. People of either gender may be ordained to all three orders and may be married. The emphasis on lay participation in all levels of our church governance is a hallmark of our polity.
Episcopal understanding of authority is based in the Anglican sources of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. We hold Scripture to be the Word of God as mediated through human authors, but that requires interaction with the church of the past and our own God-given mental faculties to interpret.
We are a creedal, rather than a confessional church, meaning that we take the Apostles and Nicene creeds as the basis of our faith rather than a confessional statement or a catechism. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer contains our liturgies and can be considered a repository of our theology, but it allows a great deal of latitude. Episcopalians have a lot of theological diversity. You will find Episcopalians whose theology is similar to Roman Catholics, or to Eastern Orthodox, or to Evangelicals, or to Pentecostals. You will also find a diversity of political opinion in the Episcopal Church. We are united in our common worship of God in the holy and undivided Trinity. - From St. Matthias' Visitor Page
Fr. Chris Yaw introduces being an Episcopalian
See more of Fr. Yaw's excellent video series here.