The Episcopal Church was founded in the United States in the wake of the American Revolution. The Diocese of Arizona came along a bit later. It was established as part of a missionary jurisdiction in 1865, and became a diocese in 1959.
Bishop Jennifer Reddall is our sixth bishop, and the first woman chosen for that role. She was elected in October, 2018, and ordained a bishop on March 9, 2019.
Most Episcopalians live in the United States, but the church comprises dioceses in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela, and the Virgin Islands. It also includes a convocation of churches, mission congregations, and specialized ministries spread geographically over seven countries in continental Europe.
The Episcopal Church is a member of the Anglican Communion, a community of churches with tens of millions of members in more than 165 countries.
Perhaps the best short, comprehensive summary of the Episcopal faith is contained in the Baptismal Covenant in which Episcopalians profess their belief in God and their willingness to participate in God’s mission in the world. We promise to “seek and serve Christ in all persons” and “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.”
The Episcopal Church has many influences, but three stand out: Scripture, tradition, and reason.
Our beliefs and worship flow from the Holy Scriptures. We use the Bible, along with the Book of Common Prayer. Every Sunday we read and preach from a 3-year cycle of Bible readings called The Lectionary.
Episcopal worship and prayer life are centered on the traditions of the early Christian church. We, who are many and diverse, come together in Christ through our shared worship and prayer. The Book of Common Prayer contains our shared liturgies, prayers, theological documents, and more. Sunday worship typically includes the celebration of Holy Eucharist.
We believe that God granted us the gift of reason to see the influence of the Holy Spirit through our own experiences, the experiences of our community and the experiences of Christians down through time. We also believe the natural sciences play a role in making clear the divine design.
We know that there is grace after divorce and we do not deny the sacraments to those who have been divorced and remarried. We ordain women as deacons, priests and bishops. We believe that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression are made in the image and likeness of God and therefore all aspects of our life in the church, including marriage and ordination, are open to LGBTQ+ people.
While we are committed Christians, we are deeply respectful toward other faiths and committed to interfaith dialogue and witness. In fulfilling our baptismal promise to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being,” we are committed to the work of dismantling racism and welcoming the stranger.
Adapted from St. Barnabas, Scottsdale and The Episcopal Church.