The Episcopal Church

About the Episcopal Church

Holy Apostles is part of The Episcopal Church in Minnesota, which is a diocese of The Episcopal Church, a community of worshipers in 109 dioceses and regional areas in 17 nations across the United States and abroad. The Episcopal Church is part of the larger Anglican Communion, which is a worldwide community of more than 85 million people who intentionally maintain community and commonality in prayer and worship in more than 500 dioceses in 165 countries. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion.

The mission of the church is “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” As part of that mission, we’re following Jesus into loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, with each other, and with the earth as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. We seek every day to love God with our whole heart, mind, and soul, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).

A Brief History of The Church of England
The Episcopal Church traces its roots to the Church in England. Although there is some evidence of Christianity in the British Isles as early as the first century, officially Christianity first came to England in 597AD with a missionary monk, St. Augustine, sent by the pope. Within 90 years, Christianity was the dominant religion in the British Isles.

In the 1500s movements in England and Europe to correct corrupt practices in the Church and repudiate papal authority led to the Reformation and the Protestant churches. King Henry VIII initially established the Church of England, and his daughter Elizabeth I worked with theologians and other leaders to create the religious settlement that shapes the identity of the Church of England to this day.

The first versions of The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) were written during this time, and the 1662 version is still used in the Church of England today. The BCP has been adapted for use in churches throughout the Anglican Communion, including The Book of Common Prayer used by the American Episcopal Church.

As England began to establish British colonies around the world, the Church of England planted churches in those colonies. Later those churches became independent but remain a part of the Anglican Communion.

A Brief history of The Episcopal Church

The first Church of England congregation was established 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia, then later in other mid-Atlantic and southern colonies. The Church of England in America was overseen by the Bishop of London until 1785, when the First General Convention of The Episcopal Church was held. The General Convention authorized the preparation of an American Prayer Book and named itself the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

In 1789, an assembly of the American Church met in Philadelphia to unify all Episcopalians in the United States into a single national church. The first American Book of Common Prayer was also approved at this assembly and was used until a revised version was created in 1892. A completely revised Book of Common Prayer was adopted in 1979, and an updated Hymnal was adopted in 1982.

Today, the 109 dioceses of The Episcopal Church and three regional areas are organized into nine provinces, each governed by a synod consisting of a House of Bishops and a House of Deputies.

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Credits to Reverend Elise Peterson

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