Our tradition and worship

Our tradition and leadership structure

We Are Part of a Larger Church Family

St. Peter's is a congregation of the Episcopal Church USA, which is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, a fellowship of independent churches in thirty-eight countries around the globe, all descended from The Church of England.

In our approach toward other people, other faith traditions, and controversial issues, Episcopalians seek to be broad rather than narrow, inclusive rather than exclusive, making room for one another within a community of faith and supporting one another in our individual faith journeys.

 

 Our Worship

Worship is central to our life as a community of faith.  We strive to make our services at once reverent, beautiful and spiritually authentic.  We are a liturgical church – that is, our services are a dialog between the worship leader and the congregation. 

Expressing our continuing connection with the two-thousand year history of Christian worship, we celebrate a rich calendar of feasts and holy days, many of them going back to the early centuries of the Christian Church.

Worship at St. Peter's incorporates the senses as well as the mind and spirit, with candles, flowers, and music enhancing the sacred space of the church and creating an atmosphere of reverence.  Silence also plays an important role, incorporating the ancient contemplative element of Christianity. We also have a comfortable space for young children, complete with quiet toys and art supplies.

 

Sources of Our Faith

We look to three sources for our convictions and practices:

Scripture (the Bible), in which people of faith recorded, reflected upon and responded to God’s message to the human family – a message of love, justice and redemption for all people.

 

Reason, God’s gift to humanity by which we may reflect on our lives, our experience and our world and, from that reflection, discern truth.
 

Tradition of the Church as it has come down and developed from the time of the earliest Christians.

Who has the authority to make decisions?

Our name “Episcopal” comes from the system of oversight in our communion: the ultimate authorities in the church are bishops (“episcopal” comes from the Greek word for bishop), although all church-wide policy decisions are made by the national "house of bishops" and the "house of delegates," comprised of elected clergy and lay representatives from around the country.

Our local clergy, both men and women, are either priests or deacons.  Priests, as in all the historic Christian churches, serve as our pastors and are ordained to preach, celebrate Holy Communion, and pronounce God’s forgiveness through a formal act called “absolution.”  Deacons focus on practical service to congregations and their wider communities.

Each congregation has a leadership council ("vestry") made up of elected members of the church, plus the clergy leadership. This body acts as the "board of directors" for the congregation. The primary priest ("rector," or "priest in charge," or "vicar") is essentially the CEO of the nonprofit corporation of the local church.

Believing that every member of our church family has God-given gifts to be offered for the benefit of all, we make extensive use of lay leaders in our worship and work.