Help me understand the church

The Episcopal Shield

The Episcopal Shield is a St. George Cross, an indicator of our link to the Church of England, the mother of the Anglican Communion.  The small crosses in the blue quadrant symbolize the nine original American dioceses that met in Philadelphia in 1789 to adopt the constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Unites States of America.  The small crosses are shaped after the St. Andrew’s Cross in tribute to the Scottish Episcopal Church’s role in ordaining the first American bishop, Samuel Seabury, in 1784

Protestant vs Catholic

Protestants disagreed with what was happening in the Roman Catholic church (Martin Luther, one of the first to protest, was himself a Roman Catholic that didn’t like what they were doing in Rome).  The protesters established “churches” based on the religeous beliefs and interpretations of their leaders and followers.

The Roman Church remained under the Bishop of Rome (the Pope).  Protestant churches formed numerous denominations, all believing in and worshiping Jesus Christ.  [link to YouTube topic]

Episcopalian vs Anglican

Protestants in England established the Anglican Church as the national religion of England, also called “The Church of England”.  When the British colonized the Americas, they naturally brought “The Church of England” with them.  Independent-minded Americans used the term “Episcopal” to differentiate their church in America from England.  “Episcopal” means
ruled by Bishops” and maintains the Anglican tradition of  “apostolic succession” all the way back to Jesus’ apostles.  The term “Episcopal” is used primarily in the United States.  “Anglican” is used in England and throughout the world as the Communion of Anglicans (Anglican Communion).  Episcopalians are part of the Anglican Communion.

Diocese vs Parish Each congregation of people in the Episcopal Church is called a
“parish”  Each parish is a member of a Diocese and each Diocese is under the direction of a Bishop.  Diocese ar usually geographical.

Episcopal Terms (Say What?)

Eucharist – communion

Cradle-Episcopalian – someone who grew up in the Episcopal Church

Narthex – the foyer of the church

Nave – where the people sit, where the pews ar located

Sanctuary – a “platform” (elevated area) where the altar is

Vicar – the priest of a mission parish, under the direction of a Bishop.  An ordained person.

Vestry – the church council of 10-12 lay people.  In small parishes, the Vestry is often called a Bishop’s Committee (BC) and has 6 lay members.

Wardens (Senior and Junior) – Council leaders, elected lay people

[link to National Church, “Terms”]