Traditional in Faith and Morals.
An Anglican traditionalist Episcopal Church,
The Southern Episcopal Church and the Missionary District of the Mid West
"An unchanging faith, in an ever-changing world."
We are Anglicans by our Church heritage.
We Are Episcopalians by our faith and practice.
We are Traditionalists.
We are a part of the traditional Anglican Communion.
We use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.
Simply stated, we are a traditional Episcopal Church, truly Episcopal, truly Anglican, but chiefly we strive to be truly Christians.
Perhaps you are reading this because you want to learn more about Episcopalians / Anglicans in general, or the Southern Episcopal Church (S.E.C.) in particular. Or maybe you surfed onto this and are reading it purely out of curiosity. Whatever the reason, please read on so that you may understand more about us. It is not easy to tell you everything about the S.E.C. here, but, let us try to explain our faith, practice, and traditions as Anglican Christians, Anglo-Catholics and Southern Episcopalians.
What Is The Southern Episcopal Church?
The S.E.C. is a branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church instituted by Christ and faithfully continuing the Anglican tradition. We uphold the historic Catholic Faith, Apostolic Order and Evangelical Witness as stated in the 1928 American edition of the Book of Common Prayer. We accept as binding and unalterable the received Faith and Traditions of the Church, its teachings concerning the ministry, the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds; and the writings of the ancient Church, as defined by the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church.
What is meant by 'Catholic' or 'Anglican'?
The word 'catholic' is often misunderstood as meaning "Roman Catholic", but Rome has no copyright on the word. The words "Catholic Church" in ancient times referred to the universal Church, teaching the Faith of Christ which He gave to the Apostles. Today, the term catholic Church denotes branches of the Church who, though separate, still teach the Apostolic Faith and continue Apostolic Tradition. The word 'Anglican' refers to our roots in the Church of England while 'Episcopalian' is the term used in the U.S.
Is The S.E.C. a New Church?
Certainly not! It is a new church structure but not a new Church. Throughout history, there have been many times when Christians have been led into heresies against sound doctrine and Faith. In the late 50's and early 60's there began a movement in the Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.(PECUSA) to water down tradition and truth by an influx of liberal minded pseudo-intellectuals who came to worship their learning above the Truth of God. Even to the point of teaching doubts concerning the Virgin Birth, the resurrection and even the divinity of Christ. The S.E.C. was founded in Nashville, Tennessee in 1962 by concerned men and women who felt they could not sit by idly while the liberal clergy of PECUSA destroyed the principles of Christianity that had been handed down by the Apostles and entrusted to their care. The S.E.C., therefore, was formed for the purpose of giving Episcopalians a church in which to worship in traditional faith and practice. Desiring to hold firm to that Faith of the Apostles, The Rev. Burnice H. Webster was consecrated Bishop, through Anglican (and several other) lines of Apostolic Succession in 1965 and in 1966 The S.E.C. was chartered in Nashville. By late 1992, the S.E.C. had grown to include five dioceses and missionary districts, with congregations spread throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, Ireland, and India.
What Is This Faith You Seek To Preserve?
The Traditional Anglican Faith is thoroughly grounded in Holy Scripture. We believe "....the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments is the authentic record of God's revelation of Himself, His saving grace, and moral demands - a revelation valid for all people and for all time." We hold that the ancient Creeds express the Faith of the Church and are to be understood as they are written. These Creeds, written by the ancient councils and Fathers, summarize the faith "once delivered to the saints"(St Jude 3). They teach us that God is one God in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that God the Son became man and was born of a virgin as our Lord Jesus Christ. We are taught that by our Lord's sinless life, death and resurrection, He gained access for us to God our Father and opened the way for us to be children of God, joint heirs by adoption, with the Son, and to live with Him forever. On Christian morality, we believe that "every Christian is obliged to form his conscience by the Divine Moral Law and the Mind of Christ as revealed in Holy Scriptures and by the teachings and Tradition of the Church." Such teaching is especially seen in the Sermon on the Mount (St. Matthew 5, 6, and 7) and in our Lord's Summary of the law, which states that we must love God with our heart, soul, and mind, and love our neighbors as ourselves.
Is The S.E.C. a Sacramental Church?
Yes! We believe the Sacraments are "objective and effective signs of the continued presence and saving grace of Christ our Lord among His people and His covenanted means for conveying His grace." There are two Sacraments - Baptism and the Holy Eucharist - ordained of Christ: Baptism: by water and in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost(Matthew 28:19, John 3:5; Romans 6:4, Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21). The Holy Eucharist, also called the Lord's Supper, the Holy Communion, or the Divine Mystery, was instituted by our Lord at the Last Supper when He said: (The S.E.C. accepts all Baptized Christians at her Communion Table)
"This is my body which is given for you...This is my blood of the New Testament...As oft as ye do this do it in remembrance of Me."
(I Corinthians 11:24; Matthew 26:20- 28; Mark 14: 17-25; Luke 22:14-20)
There are also five "commonly called" Sacraments which include: Confirmation, Penance, Holy Unction, Marriage, and Holy Orders.
Confirmation conveys the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and is administered through the laying on of hands by the Bishop.(Acts 8:14-17; 19:1-7; Ephesians 1:13).
Penance: conveys the acceptance of the forgiveness of our sins.(John 20:23; James 5:16).
Unction: is the anointing with oil and prayer for for the sick (physically or spiritually).(James 5:14; Mark 6:13).
Marriage: is the union of one man and one woman for life before God. This relationship, Saint Paul tells us, is like unto Christ and His Church(Ephesians 5:31-32).
Holy Orders: denote the Apostolic Ministry of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, instituted by Christ.(John 20:19-23; Matthew 16:18-19; 18:18; Acts 6.1-6). Our Lord commissioned the Apostles and their successors, today's Bishops, to proclaim His work of salvation which He accomplished on Calvary. When Anglicans speak of Apostolic Succession, we mean an unbroken line of consecrations and commissions from our Lord to present day bishops, continuing the same teaching and ministry established by Christ.
What About Your Worship?
The S.E.C. uses the historic 1928 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) as the standard for worship. In some parishes, the BCP is supplemented with the People's Anglican Missal.
Are Services The Same In All S.E.C. parishes?
Essentially, Yes! You may find some variations from parish to parish. If you are new to our worship you may find some customs in the service unfamiliar. The priest at your local parish will be happy to explain to you the symbolism of our worship. One general rule of thumb for Anglicans is that we stand to praise God, sit for listening, and kneel to pray. Worship is our prime responsibility. We believe that the life of Christian service is possible only through a full life of worship, through which we receive God's love and express our love to Him. Hence, we believe it is our obligation not only to worship God together every Lord's Day but also to have a daily life of prayer.
Are There Opportunities For Service?
All Christians are given special Spiritual Gifts by the Holy Spirit. These Gifts are meant to be used for the benefit of the Christian community. A Christian should determine which of the Spiritual Gifts he/she has been given, and then develop, exercise and use these gifts in their ministry. There are many opportunities for service and to exercise your Spiritual Gift(s). The S.E.C. has been built upon the efforts of its laity. In the parish there is the need for altar guilds, acolytes, church school leaders, teachers, lay readers, choir, parish committees etc. which help in the carrying out of the parish's mission. There also exists the need for workers in the "outreach" vineyard - visiting the shut-ins, hospitals, jails, homes for the aged, youth hostels, halfway houses, etc. Every Christian is a minister. Everything we do in God's service to our fellowman is a ministry of the Church "In as much as you did it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye did it unto me." There are no unimportant ministries.
The Essentials Of Truth And Order!
We recognize that the Rule of Faith laid down by Saint Vincent of Lerins: "Let us hold that which has been believed everywhere always and by all, for that is truly and properly Catholic" The Church is the Body of Christ at work in the world. She is the society of the Baptized called out from the world: 'in it, but not of it.' As Christ's faithful Bride, she is different from the world, and must not be influenced by the world and all her materiality. We repudiate all deviation or departure from the Faith in whole or in part, and bear witness to these essential principles of evangelical Truth and Apostolic Order.
How Can I Learn More?
Come and worship with us! Seek out the nearest Southern Episcopal parish, a congregation with: "An Unchanging Faith-In An Ever-Changing World." We will be glad to welcome you and to answer your questions. If there is no Southern Episcopal parish near you, gather one in your own home and inform the Bishop for your area.
A Traditional Episcopal Church, truly Episcopal, truly Anglican but chiefly striving to be truly Christian. Upholding the importance of true Apostolic Succession, and the importance of a scripturally valid ordained clergy, which enables us to honor God and receive truly valid Sacraments.
For local information call: Bishop Acie Angel at 314-830-2327 or (Home) 314-831-5992 (Cell) 314-537-5158
Or email: DMW Info
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