The old adage is that if you want to know what Episcopalians and Anglicans believe, we won't hand you a catechism but rather invite you to come pray with us. Eventually, you'll figure it out. The other adage is that wherever two or three Episcopalians are present there will be at least four different opinions on doctrine. The other thing of which to be aware is that while we may have firmly held beliefs, we are instinctively DOGMATIC about NOT being DOGMATIC! While we take what we believe very seriously, we also understand that God is still speaking, and more is being revealed on a daily basis.
While Anglicans share about 95% the Ancient Catholic Faith with those of the Roman, Old Catholic and Eastern Orthodox communions, there are a few things that differ.
Anglicans are not overly concerned about sin: if God created us this way, then it's not the God Jesus teaches that condemns us for the way we turned out. Sin IS an important issue in that it damages our perception of God and destroys the relationships we have with each other and ourselves. With that in mind, most Anglicans find it inconceivable that such a God would condemn any to eternal damnation.
While Anglicans hold the Blessed Virgin Mary in the highest of esteem, her Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity and Assumption into heaven are denied because they have no warrant from Scripture. However, one is welcome to believe those things if it helps one's spiritual development.
Anglicans strongly affirm the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist but, like the Eastern Orthodox, make no attempt to explain how that happens or what that means. We do deny the Roman concept that each time the Mass is celebrated, Christ is "resacrificed" for the sins of the world.
In keeping with the mind of the Early Church Anglicans are not Fundamentalists and do not take the Bible literally but rather allegorically and as metaphor relating the ancient story of a People and how it perceived its interactions with the Sacred. We strongly affirm that the Bible was written by humans and not God and that the Scripture must be read in the context of the time in which it was written which may or may not inform us of its meaning at the present time.
Anglicans affirm the ancient Tradition of the Church up to the 7th Ecumenical Council in 787 AD as authoritative along with Holy Scripture.
Anglicans affirm that human Reason is a gift of God and authoritative along with Scripture and Tradition. Through science, technology, modern medicine, academic pursuit and other disciplines, God continues to reveal the Divine Self to the human race.
Anglicans affirm the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds as attempts to explain the Mystery of the Trinity and of the Christian Faith. To see each one, please click on the links at the bottom of this page. Anglicans use The Book of Common Prayer as their book of worship and personal devotion. The Prayer Book also, through its Liturgies and Rites, sets forth what we believe. Each national Church of the Anglican Communion has revised its Prayer Book in recent years. However, all of them conform theologically to The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 of the Church of England. To see The Book of Common Prayer of The Episcopal Church, see below. The Prayer Book is considered part of the Sacred Tradition of the Church.
The Prayer Book includes "A Catechism of the Christian Faith' which sets forth the doctrinal tenets of the Church. At the bottom of this page you will find an update of the Catechism since 1979.