Our Beliefs

What we believe

The Historic Christian Faith. We believe God entered our world as Jesus the Christ to save us from evil, sin, and death. Jesus was fully God and fully human who taught, healed, proclaimed the Kingdom of God, died on a cross for the sins of the world, and rose again three days later to triumph over death - inviting us to new life with him and giving us the promise of our own future resurrection at the redemption of the world. As followers of Jesus Christ we seek to live our lives as his disciples to grow in faith, hope, and love.

The Bible. We believe God inspired the human authors of the Bible though the Holy Spirit, and that the Spirit continued to guide the Church in our collective interpretation the Bible and to speak to us today though it. In fact, we read a lot of Bible on Sundays! We also understand no one can read it without a bias, and so we read in both in conversation with Christians of the past and insights from our current knowledge of the world, which is why we often take moderate positions and avoid extremes. We try to listen to all sides, and discern the differences between what it truly core to the Christian Faith and what is open for differing views.

God is the good creator. God made all which is and that which has he has made is good. Therefore God’s grace isn’t opposed to nature, but perfects it - God works though material things such as bread, wine, and water in what we call the sacraments. In addition, because creation is good we also recognize the earth was given to humanity as a sacred trust with responsibility to act as God’s stewards in caring for this world God has entrusted to us.

How we’re organized

Parishes. A Parish is our name for a local Church, like St. Mary’s. Each Parish has a priest called a Rector and a lay group called a Vestry who both oversee specific responsibilities. The Rector governs worship, teaching, pastoral care, and many administrative functions. The Vestry is presided over by the Rector and who together oversee finances and facilities.

Bishops and Dioceses. A Diocese is a geographical region of the Church from which Parishes exercise their local ministry. Each Diocese is governed by a Bishop who is considered to be a successor to the Apostles who first followed Jesus, and who acts as an administrator, chief priest, and pastor to the entire group of Parishes. Each Diocese also has an annual convention which sets rules for all Parishes in the area. Our Diocese is the Diocese of Olympia.

 

General Convention. Every Diocese is part of the larger Episcopal Church which as a collective whole is governed by General Convention. This Convention has two governing Houses, one of all Bishops and the other of elected delegates from each Diocese. The Convention meets every three years, and our Presiding Bishop is elected at General Convention every nine years.

Anglican Communion. As part of the wider Anglican tradition, the Episcopal Church is an affiliated member of a collective group of other Churches around the world known as the Anglican Communion. This is not a legislative body, but does gather regularly for common life, ministry, and witness to the world. The unifying Bishop of the Communion is the Archbishop of Canterbury in England.