What Are Some Facts About the Episcopalian Religion?


Quick Answer

The Episcopal religion is the North American branch of the Anglican church and has existed in the United States since the 1700s. Episcopalians share the Anglican structure of a bishop-led structure.

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The Anglican church began in the early 1500s when Henry VIII broke ties with the Roman Catholic Church. The church became more structured when Queen Elizabeth I approved the third Book of Common Prayer in 1559. The Church of England first reached the New World in 1607, when the settlers of Jamestown, Virginia established a congregation.

Anglican clergymen were required to swear loyalty to Great Britain during their ordination; as a result, tension existed between the Anglican church and Americans during the Revolutionary War. In 1785, American clergymen and lay representatives agreed to prepare their own prayer book and become the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. In 1804, the Episcopal Church ordained its first black priest. In 2006, Katharine Jefferts Schori became the first woman to preside as a bishop in the Episcopal Church.

Episcopalianism has a mix of Protestant doctrine and Catholic tradition. Episcopalians believe that God extends grace on the basis of faith. Episcopalians follow traditional liturgy, such as the Holy Communion. The Episcopal Church, as of 2015, has approximately two million members in the United States and other islands in North America.

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