“The Anglican Communion has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ’s Church from the beginning.” – Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher
The Anglican Church is a branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church instituted by Jesus Christ. The word “Anglican” refers to our spiritual heritage and roots in the Church of England. Traders, merchants, and soldiers seem to have brought the Christian Faith to Britain shortly after it became part of the Roman Empire in the middle of the first century after Christ. Sixteen hundred years later, during what we call the Reformation, the Church of England emerged as a unique institution. It retained its “Catholic” heritage enshrined in the Creeds, the theology of the General Councils, its liturgy and sacraments, and in the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons in succession from the original Apostles. It “reformed” itself by eliminating some nonessential accretions of the later medieval Church, by restoring much of the practice of the earliest Christians, and by returning to the belief that Holy Scripture is the rule and guide of faith. It is in this sense that Anglicanism is both “Catholic and Reformational,” while being neither Roman Catholic nor a Protestant denomination. Instead, Anglicanism maintains the faith of the ancient, undivided Church founded by Christ himself, proclaimed throughout the ages, and recovered in the English Reformation.
Members of the Church of England came to America in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In many of the original colonies, the Church of England was the established or official Church. After the Revolution, American Anglicans established an autonomous branch of the Church, which became known as the Episcopal Church. Starting in the 1970’s this body began to revise its worship and theology. The end result was a near abandonment of the ancient Christian faith. Faithful Episcopalians couldn’t sit by and watch their Church spiral into false teaching, and so the Continuing Anglican movement was birthed. These dioceses formed as an alternative to the Episcopal Church with the intent of “continuing” the historic Christian faith as received in the Anglican tradition.
Holy Cross, started in 2004, is a parish within this Continuing Movement, and is under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of America.
The beliefs of the Anglican Church are best expressed in the words of Holy Scripture as interpreted by the Church Fathers, the three historic creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, and Athansasian), and the Book of Common Prayer. This short summary helps distill those teachings:
THE TRIUNE GOD
We believe and teach that God has revealed Himself in the Holy Scriptures as One God in Three Persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe and teach that Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus lived a sinless life, died in our place, rose victoriously from death, and ascended to heaven, all of which was to save us from hell, empower us for sanctification, and bring us into eternal communion with God. It is this “Good News” of Jesus that we label the “Gospel.”
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit is the personal power and presence of God Himself at work in the world, convincing sinners of their need for God’s grace, revealing the beauty of Jesus Christ, and indwelling the Church in order to bring people into eternal communion with the Triune God.
We believe and teach that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of our proclamation, faith, and life. The primary message and meaning of Scripture is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We believe and teach that the Church is the Body of Christ, the people of God both dead and alive, created and sustained by God Himself. The biblical expression of being a part of the Church is faithful participation in the sacraments, daily prayer and study of the Bible, regular fellowship, and support of the mission of the congregation.
We believe and teach that God communicates His love and grace to us through physical means, which we call “sacraments” or “holy mysteries.” The historic Church has identified seven primary sacraments as the normatives means for communing with God: Holy Baptism, Holy Communion (also called the Holy Eucharist, Lord’s Supper, or Mass), Confirmation, Penance (also called Confession), Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Holy Unction (also called Holy Anointing). Each sacrament leads to deeper communion with God, for both the individuals and the entire Church as a whole.
We believe and teach that the Scriptures and the 2,000 year-old tradition of the Church are clear on such matters as sexuality and marriage. We affirm that the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the lifelong union of fidelity between one man and one woman, is the only relationship God has ordained for the full expression of human sexuality. We embrace those of other orientations and believe that faithful singleness is God’s call for their life.
We also believe and teach that God has made all human life sacred from the moment of conception. We thus advocate and work toward preserving and sustaining the lives of all people across the full span of life—from the preborn to the elderly.