What We Believe

St. Paul’s By-The Sea in Ocean City 

We express our faith by doing our best to follow Jesus’ commandment to Feed My Sheep. Everything that we do is focused on feeding people Body, Soul and Spirit.

The Episcopal Church

What ties us together is our belief in the love of God, especially as Jesus talked about it. Jesus taught us that God’s deepest hope for us is that we would love God and love our neighbors (Matt. 22:37-40). We work with God for that time when what Jesus called ‘The Kingdom’ or ‘Reign’ of God will come in its fulness.

What Episcopalians Believe

Q. Do Episcopalians believe in the Bible?

A. We sure do. We read the Bible aloud in church every Sunday, and if you come for three years straight, you will have heard almost the entire Bible. Some Episcopalians read the Bible literally while others see it as something that requires new interpretation with the passage of time. Either way, we take it very seriously, and we believe that it has much to tell us about who God is, who we are, and how God wants us to live

Q. Do Episcopalians believe in Jesus?

A. Absolutely we do. We believe, like most other Christians, that Jesus is the clearest picture God has ever given us of who God is. God loves us so much that God came to be one of us, and when we turned against him, crucified, and killed him, God used it as a way to conquer death forever … not just for Jesus, but for all of us.

Q. Do Episcopalians believe in sin?

A. Yep, but we also believe very much in a forgiving God. “Sin” is just a churchy word for “missing the mark” or “turning away.” God knows that we won’t always get everything right, and God is always waiting for us when our greed, busy-ness, and self-centeredness get us off on the wrong track.

Q. What makes Episcopalians different?

A. There are two things that make us different from many other denominations. One is that we usually celebrate Holy Communion every Sunday. If you’re not used to that, it can seem strange at first, but we see it as a great way to worship and the perfect way to remember all that God has done for us.

The other thing that makes us kind of different from many other churches is that most Episcopalians don’t spend too much time talking about hell. Some churches make it seem like we were all born evil and have to do a lot of hard work to stay out of hell. We tend to believe that God made us very good, that God’s love for us is greater than we can imagine, and that God’s grace will ultimately do most of the hard work in keeping us out of hell. Of course, that doesn’t mean we get to live crazy, sinful lives. It just means that we believe God is not a God who holds our humanity against us, especially since God’s the one who created us.

How Episcopalians Worship

Q. What’s a typical service like?

A. At most Episcopal Churches, a typical Sunday service has two parts: the Word and Communion. The Word is where we hear Scripture readings, say our prayers, and listen to the sermon. Communion is where we share the Bread and Wine as Jesus commanded us to do before he died.

Q. What kind of music do Episcopalians use?

A. All kinds. Some Episcopal churches only use the hymnal with an organ and choir. At Saint Paul’s By-The-Sea our music tends to be traditional but we have recently added a digital piano along with our pipe organ and our working to expand the styles of music we use.

Q. Can anybody come?

A. Oh yes. We believe that God does not restrict anyone from coming to his table, so neither do we. All are allowed to come and worship, and all are allowed to take Communion with us.

Other Random Questions We Get

Q. What role do women play?

A. We believe God created both male and female in God’s image and therefore do not discriminate. Women can have any role in the Episcopal Church that men can, including deacons, priests, and bishops. In fact, the current presiding bishop of the entire Episcopal Church happens to be a woman.

Q. What about homosexuality?

A. At St. Paul’s by the Sea we believe that LGBT people are an integral part of the body of Christ. We wish clearly to affirm that our position as a church is to welcome all persons, particularly those perceived to be the least among us.

There are a number of different creedal statements and liturgical (worship) resources that reflect what we, as Episcopalians, believe and how we are called to live. A guide to the beliefs of The Episcopal Church can be found by using the following link:

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/baptismal-covenant

You are encouraged to read through the 15 brief topics listed there in order to understand the beliefs and practices of The Episcopal Church and its local expression in downtown Ocean City at Saint Paul’s by-the-Sea.