The Episcopal Church, USA (ECUSA) is the official organization of the Anglican Communion in the United States. Most of the earliest colonists to America were Anglican Puritans and the Anglican Church became the established church of Virginia, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia during the colonial period. After the American Revolution, the Anglican Church in America formed an independent body in 1789 and called it the Protestant Episcopal Church. On the website, the ECUSA is described as a “middle way between Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.” Like the Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church upholds the sacraments as essential to salvation, and like Protestant churches, it denies the supremacy of the Pope as the vicar of Christ on earth.
The word “Episcopal” comes from the Greek word that is usually translated “bishop” and points to the church’s understanding that a bishop is the primary shepherd of the church. Under the Episcopal form of government, the bishop’s authority is equal to that of the Apostles and follows a line of succession by the laying on of hands in ordination. Priests come under the authority of the bishops and are responsible for the teaching and administration of the local churches. Throughout the history of the ECUSA, their doctrine and practice have been generally in line with that of the Anglican Church.
What Do Episcopalians Believe? We believe there is One God who creates all things, redeems us from sin and death and renews us as the Children of God. As Episcopalians we promise to follow Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. We believe the mission of our church is restoration of all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.
To read more about the service, creeds, sacraments, and other beliefs, please click here.
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Welcome to our diocese. The Diocese of Pennsylvania is the second oldest diocese in the Episcopal Church. The first Bishop of PA, the Most Reverend William White, was also the first Presiding Bishop in the Episcopal Church as well as Chaplain to the Continental Congress. This historic diocese is comprised of 135 worshiping congregations located in the southeast portion of the state, throughout Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, & Chester counties.
The Diocese of Pennsylvania carries out the Church’s mission of bringing individuals to faith in Jesus Christ primarily through its 135 parishes and missions planted throughout the five-county Philadelphia region. Indeed, thirteen of its parishes ante-date the founding of the Diocese itself in 1784. Gloria Dei was established, first as an outpost of the Church of Sweden, in 1642, and Christ Church, Philadelphia, was founded as the first parish of the Church of England in 1695. Historically, the Diocese took a laissez faire attitude towards the creation of churches, 30% of which were begun by individual clergy, 30% by laity who gathered to worship according to the Book of Common Prayer and later called a priest, 30% by a parish vestry which initiated a mission church in a new area or neighborhood, and 10% by the Diocese. Some areas of the Diocese see an Episcopal parish or mission church every few blocks, the result being that parishes tend to sharply distinguish themselves from one another historically, architecturally, theologically, liturgically, and in their sense of mission. The consequence is a rich, colorful, interesting mosaic of churches that is indispensable to the identity of the Diocese and the quality of life for the region it serves.
The Diocesan office is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
3717 Chestnut Street, Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 627-6434 [phone]
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