- Are we Anglicans or are we Episcopalians? Or maybe we are both?
- Who are we since our separation from the Episcopal Church?
- Did the Episcopal Church give us our identity?
- Did you know that when our Church and property were consecrated in 1944 and again in 1962 our given name was “St. John’s Church?”
- And, finally, does any of this matter?
Anglican or Episcopal
Both “Anglican” and “Episcopal” are our “family names.” Our “Anglican” genealogy is traced back to the Catholic Church in England. From this Church of the second century England we are organically linked to the Apostles and to Jesus Christ Himself!
Our “Episcopal” genealogy is traced back to November 1780 when the title “Episcopal Church” was first used. In August 1783 this name was officially adopted, long before it was widely accepted.
St. John’s in Fort Worth is part of a world-wide family called “Anglicans” and members of the “Anglican Communion.” We have more than 70 million brothers and sisters serving Jesus Christ in 38 Provinces spreading across 161 countries. Our family is on every continent worshiping the holy and blessed Trinity in many diverse languages, dialects and cultures. And yet we are uniquely unified through our apostolic history, our biblical and sacramental theology, our liturgical Patrimony and our relationship to the ancient See of Canterbury.
If this is true does it matter which name we choose to be known by? “Anglican” or “Episcopal?”
The answer to this important question today is yes, it matter a great deal.
The reason it matters is tied up in why we separated from the Episcopal Church. When St. John’s joined our Diocese and withdrew from membership in the Episcopal Church we dissociated ourselves from the moral, theological, and disciplinary creations and innovations that have consumed the Episcopal Church and that have moved her away from the apostolic faith and order of biblical Christianity.
After the separation we found ourselves in a totally new place. We have spent the last five years adjusting to all of this. But today is about our future. St. John’s needs to make a clear differentiation between us and our beliefs as orthodox biblical Anglicans and the Episcopal Church. In years to come there will be Anglican parishes in Fort Worth as well as congregations associated with the Episcopal Church. It’s important for us to make a clear distinction from the Episcopal Church because for those who are unfamiliar with the Anglican way they could conclude that our differences are few. Yet we know that there are a great many differences between us and most congregations of the Episcopal Church.
So what’s in a name? A name is like a lens through which people come to understand who we are.
Our name will speak volumes about what we believe and what we are committed to as a traditional orthodox Anglican parish. Our name will tell all Christians that we are intent on teaching the historic Catholic faith and order that belongs to historic Anglican Christianity.
Maybe it’s time for us to transition from St. John’s Episcopal Church to St. John’s Anglican Church? It seems to fit!