All Are Welcome
At Holy Cross, you will find a relaxed environment of family, friends and community. Our services emphasize knowing the love of Christ through prayer, teaching, music and Holy Communion while following the traditional Episcopal liturgy. Let us be part of your faith journey! Please join us on Sunday mornings or drop by the office during regular office hours. If you need immediate help or information please call our office at 910-799-6347 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time & Location
Regular services are:
Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.
Sundays at 8:00 am and 10:15 a.m.
Nursery is available
Sunday School for K - 12th grade at 9:15 a.m.
Adult Formation 9:15 a.m.
Tuesday - Thursday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Monday and Friday the office is open by appointment. Please call 910-799-6347 or email us at email@example.com to schedule a time.
It is the continuance of the Church of England, brought to these shores by the first settlers and reorganized as The Episcopal Church in 1785 after the Revolution, by which the colonies in America won their independence from the mother county. After the Revolution, it became self-governing and self-sustaining. Today it is know as the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA).
The Church did not begin then. It took its new title at that time; but it was the same church that had been here from the founding of the American Colonies in the seventeenth century. Those colonists who were members of the Church of England brought their church with them. Our church is a daughter church of the Church of England. We are part of the Anglican Communion.
No, it was not. The Church of England has a long history. It was part of the Church Catholic before there were any divisions in the church at all. For several centuries after 664 AD it did, in common with all western Christendom, recognize the Pope as chief bishop; but at the Reformation it rejected the claims of the Pope to singular, universal authority. It did not, however, in doing this, reject the Catholic and Apostolic faith which it had always held. It kept the historic Catholic creeds and the three-fold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons. The reason our church is called Episcopal is that it maintains the ancient episcopal order in its ministry. “Episcopal” comes from a Greek word episcopos, meaning bishop.
“Protestant” was used in 1785 to distinguish our church from the Church of Rome, because it had taken part in the reformation in the sixteenth century. Yet this does not mean that we are simply one of the many protestant churches deriving from the Reformation. Those made a greater break with the past than our church did. “Protestant” is not opposed to “catholic.” The word “catholic” really means “universal,” and we are certainly part of the universal church. It also has reference to the ancient Catholic faith as expressed in the creeds – and we hold to that. So we rightly claim to be Catholic.
This is the name given to all the churches throughout the world descended from the English church and that are still in communion with it and each other. As the British Empire spread, so did the Church of England, the established church of the realm. Other churches overseas were begun by missionaries of daughter churches such as the Episcopal Church. Today the Anglican Communion consists of some 80 million members of 32 national churches like our own. It is found on all the continents with particular strength in Africa. Members of these churches are known either as Episcopalians or as Anglicans because of their common origin and common heritage. Each national church or province is self-governing. International communications are maintained through the Anglican Consultative Council with offices in London, and through a once-a-decade meeting of bishops known as the Lambeth Conference.
There are three principal levels of organization or expressions of church’s life: the local congregation or parish; the diocese, consisting of many parishes in an area under the supervision of a bishop; the national church. In each case government is a mixture of hierarchy and democracy, with distinct roles and privileges for clergy and a strong voice for lay persons, both men and women. At the national level, the chief priest and pastor is the Presiding Bishop. The highest governing body is the General Convention of the church which meets every three years to deal with the business of the church and to make its laws or canons. This convention is composed of two houses, one of bishops, the other of elected clerical and lay deputies; and legislation has to be passed in both houses. For carrying on the work between conventions, an Executive Council is elected which is representative of the whole church, and of which the Presiding Bishop is chair. Additionally, each bishop has an annual diocesan convention or council with the clergy and elected lay deputies from the congregations for carrying on the work of the church on the local, diocesan level. The rector of the parish is chosen by the vestry for the people, with the approval of the bishop; and rector and vestry together are responsible for the work of the parish subject to the constitution and canons of the diocese and national church.
The main doctrines of the Episcopal Church are contained in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. These creeds were specified in the days of the undivided church, and the Nicene Creed has been the standard confession of catholic faith ever since. Beside the beliefs expressed in the creeds, the Episcopal Church holds to other catholic beliefs and practices, and these are embodied in the Book of Common Prayer, and give the authoritative doctrinal standards of the Episcopal Church. See, for example, An Outline of the Faith, beginning on page 843 of the prayer book.
“The sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.” Episcopalians believe there are two sacraments given and directed by Christ, Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. We celebrate and administer other sacraments grounded in the Bible. They are Confirmation, which comes after Baptism; Matrimony, in which woman and man are united in marriage; Unction, the sacrament of healing; Penance, in which the assurance of God’s forgiveness is given; and Holy Orders in which bishops, priest and deacons are ordained. Baptism and Holy Eucharist are considered necessary for all Christians. Confirmation is a normal part of church life. Not everyone participates in the other
Baptism is the sacrament of initiation membership into the Body of Christ, the church. The outward sign is the pouring on of water or immersion in the name of the Trinity. The inward grace is new life, death to sin and rising with Christ. Baptism is birth into eternal life. Episcopalians baptize infants, as did the early church. The church is the family of God, and as in an earthly family, parents and other family members see to a child’s raising until the child is old enough to accept responsibility. The Episcopal Church recognizes any Baptism with water in the name of the Trinity. We do not practice re-baptism. All baptized persons are entitled to receive Holy Communion.
In the early church the bishop baptized and laid hands on the new members and prayed for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that they might be equipped by God to live the life of a Christian. When the multitudes began to come to join the church, bishops allowed priest to baptize but reserved the laying on of hands-confirmation-for themselves. It is expected in the Episcopal Church that members at some time will stand before the bishop, to declare intention to live as a Christian and to receive at the bishop’s hands the traditional blessing
The same sacrament may also be called the Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper or the Mass. The outward and visible sign is the bread and wine. The inward and spiritual grace is the Body and Blood of Christ. At the last supper Jesus said that when we eat the bread and drink the wine together we should do it for his remembrance. The word we translate “remembrance” is the Greek anamnesis, which means much more than to remember; it means “to make present.” Episcopalians do not try to explain philosophically how the Real Presence of Christ occurs in the Eucharist. It is a great, sacred mystery. Yet for 2,000 years Christians have met week-by-week, believing that in sharing the blessed sacrament they are in communion with Christ, with God and with all other Christians of all times and places.
Local congregations and clergy may develop different style of worship and ceremonial emphasis in teaching and understanding of the church’s mission. The Episcopal Church is proud of the freedom which allows such variations within the same fellowship and grateful for the movements which, in each generation, seek renewal of the church’s spiritual life. The terms High Church or Anglo-Catholic and Low Church or Evangelical are not widely used as they once were. They refer to two movements that have always been part of the Anglican tradition, one seeking to preserve catholic faith and practice, the other seeking to affirm and maintain protestant emphasis such as the centrality of the Bible and preaching. Today differences and tensions in the church do not center so much on liturgical or ceremonial matters as on different interpretations of mission and evangelism.
Prayers in church have been said “out of a book” from very early times, and the Episcopal Church is following ancient and historical practice. The Book of Common Prayer is a compilation from many old and some comparatively modern sources, and it is universally acknowledged to be the first prayer book in the English language. Our clergy are not so tied to it that they can never use any other prayers or say and extemporary one if they desire to do so. Yet, the use of the prayer book does protect us from the vagaries of a disordered service and provides for the full participation of the congregation in the act of worship. No other church afford this so completely as the Episcopal Church does. Hence the name – The Book of Common Prayer.
Each color symbolizes the main idea of the season or Holy Day on which it is used. White signifies purity and joy, and is used at Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Trinity, all Saints’ Day, and on other joyful occasions such as weddings. Red typifies fire and is used at Pentecost (Whitsuntide) and at ordinations-as symbolic of the Holy Spirit. It also typifies blood, and is therefore used on the festivals of martyrs. Purple (or violet) is for penitence, and is used during Advent and Lent, although blue is used in Advent in some parishes. Green signifies hope and growth, and is used through the weeks after Epiphany and Pentecost. Black is used in many churches on Good Friday.
The Bible is given a primary place. Take a look at the prayer book and see how much of the Bible there is in it! The canticles are from the Bible; so are the psalms. Two or three passage from the Bible are read at every celebration of Holy Communion, and lessons from the Old and New Testaments at Morning and Evening Prayer. The prayer book, in fact, is the Bible in some form or another from beginning to end. The very prayers, in many instances, are paraphrases of scripture. Not only that, the church’s standard of faith is the Bible, and nothing in belief is required from its members that cannot be proved from, or is not agreeable to, the teaching of Holy Scripture.
Many rich and powerful people have been Episcopalians, and many of our national leaders have been members. But Episcopalians come from every economic level, every ethnic background, every race. Episcopalians traditionally are in the forefront of movements for human right, of struggles against oppression. The Episcopal Church welcomes all people.
There are many jokes about Episcopalians and drinking. The truth is that moderate drinking is not discouraged. Jesus certainly didn’t condemn it; wine was a part of daily life in Palestine. At the same time we teach the danger of alcohol abuse and lead in ministry to alcoholics. Alcoholics Anonymous has its roots in the Episcopal Church and many churches make a place for AA meetings.
Talk to the priest in charge of the congregation. He or she will guide you from there. Probably there will be classes to attend, teaching more about Christianity and the Episcopal Church. If you have been baptized, normally at some time you will be presented for confirmation or, if you were confirmed in the Roman Catholic or Orthodox communions, received by the bishop. Any baptized person whose baptism is registered in an Episcopal parish is consider to be a member of the Episcopal Church.