Our Traditions

Visitors to this web page may be curious about the Episcopal Church. If so, here’s a start.

The Episcopal Church in the United States is part of the world-wide Anglican Communion. Our history is related to the growth of the Christian church in England. The term “Episcopal” means “bishops,” and refers to our form of governance.

The Marks of the Church

  • One
  • Holy
  • Catholic
  • Apostolic

The Church strives to be one with all creation, all people, and all beliefs and ethnic backgrounds.

The Church strives to be holy, a sacred place where all are welcome to explore faith in a spiritually safe environment.

The Church is Catholic, in that the faith that we profess is good for all persons, in any life situation, and in any place in one’s pilgrimage.

The Church is Apostolic, following the tradition begun by Jesus’ apostles, and continues to the present day into the future.

This author has seen a plaque outside the oldest church in Britain, St. Martin’s, Canterbury. That plaque reads…

We do not have all the answers. We are on a spiritual journey. We look to Scripture, reason and tradition to help us on our way. Whoever you are, we offer you a space to draw nearer to God and walk with us.

May the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist become such a place for you.

January

Many of us think that the month of January signals the start of a new year, though in the church the new year began on the first Sunday in Advent, early in December of last year. In its own way, January is a time of a fresh start and new beginnings and, of course, resolutions that may or may not result in modified habits.

Here are summaries of the major feasts this month.

The Holy Name, January 1. As was the custom in Jewish households, a male child was given a name and was circumcised eight days after his birth. Jesus’ mother, Mary, was told by the angel Gabriel to name her son Jesus, meaning savior.

The Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ, January 6. This day marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of a long period that takes up more than half of the year. Epiphany means “manifestation.” While Christmas tells us of Jesus’ gift to the Jewish world, Epiphany shows his gift to the Gentile world. The magi who brought gifts to Jesus from the Arab world to the east are featured in this day.

The Baptism of our Lord, January 12. Jesus was baptized by his cousin, the patron of our parish, John the Baptist.

The Confession of St. Peter the Apostle, January 18. The Book of Acts quotes Peter at great length describing his belief that Jesus is lord.

The Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, January 25. Paul dramatically became a follower and the most effective teacher about Jesus after an encounter on the road to Damascus.

The eight days between these two feasts is sometimes known as the Octave of Christian Unity. During this time we emphasize that all are one in Christ regardless of denominational differences.

 

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