What is The Book of Common Prayer?
The Book of Common Prayer (or B.C.P.) is our roadmap for worshiping together. Although we certainly believe in daily individual prayer, the prayers we say as a community, gathered together in one body sustained by the Holy Spirit, are the foundation of our spiritual life.
The Book of Common Prayer provides the structure of our corporate worship. It contains a wealth of prayers, many of them more than a thousand years old, to guide and focus our services. We preserve and repeat these texts because one part of Episcopal belief is that the Church itself is made up not only of all Episcopalians who happen to belong to a church at that moment, but all Christians everywhere, past and present, living and dead. Our connection to past forms of worship is never meant to be a hidebound traditionalism; rather it is a rich and vital interchange between a living past and a constantly unfolding present.
What should I expect in an Episcopal Church?
Some of our visitors are looking for a new church experience, or have heard that the worship in the Episcopal Church is genuine, beautiful, and meaningful. Others are not at all familiar with the way things are done in the Episcopal Church. Still others visit only because it’s important to someone else: a spouse, a parent, maybe a child. Regardless of your reason for coming, be welcome. Here is our guide to Episcopal Worship. We hope it will help you feel more comfortable as you navigate our worship services.
What’s up with the lobsters?
Many of you may have first heard about St. Thomas through our hugely popular annual Lobsterfest event. We are very proud of Lobsterfest and all the amazing things that Lobsterfest proceeds enable. But we are much more than just the Lobster church! We encourage you to visit us on Sunday and we hope you will feel at home in this part of the family of God.
What do we believe?
The Episcopal Church affirms those statements that make up the Apostles’ and the Nicene Creed (see the sidebar).
What does this mean? It means we believe in God. We believe that God created us and loves us. We believe that God became human in order to live a mortal life among us and to die on the cross. We believe that in dying on the cross and then ascending into heaven, God as Jesus showed us a new vision of what the divine life is, and in turn, gave us a new understanding of human life.
We believe that the purpose of human life is to love God and one another, and that God’s plan for us is to unite us to that divine life in a bond that transcends death and mortal suffering. Finally we believe that the life of the church–for all its setbacks, difficulties, conflicts, and anguish–is the unfolding of that plan.