Many Christ Church members were originally Roman Catholic, perhaps more than 50% of us. When I mentioned this to Bishop Douglas last May his response was that this was generally true across the Episcopal Church. Those of Roman background find the communion service amazingly familiar. And though we’ve evolved to be dramatically different in a number of ways we also have Bishops, Priests and Deacons, Dioceses and Deaneries, Doctrine and Canons like our forebears.
Our identity as a separate institution had its start in the 16th century when Henry the VIII of England took his geographical part of the Church of Rome and created the Church of England. The subsequent Kings and one Queen of England (Elizabeth) had an important role in forging this new entity. Eventually the C of E included a variety of worship styles and kept large parts of the inherited organization. As the English settled around the world they brought their church. And over time it changed, nation by nation. In America we did our own institutional “break off” after the Revolution to become the Episcopal Church.
Here we created an organization with a strong democratic emphasis modeled after the new America. We elect our Bishops and make decisions with them. Our elected delegates at Convention pass resolutions that affect our national church. We consider and then vote on changes to Canon and Doctrine. Each parish hires it’s own clergy, staff and contractors. Our ordained leaders, male and female, can choose marriage or not. —-Dave