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What-we-believe

About The Redeemer

Church of the Redeemer is a large and vibrant, community-based parish, that embraces the broad church tradition which is one of the great strengths of The Episcopal Church. It has an extensive music program and a highly subscribed church school. The parish is comprised of persons of all ages who are committed to the centrality of worship, the nurturing of prayerful living, and the call of God that sends us out to the world. It strives to live-out the distinct Christian tradition of Anglicanism through “via media” (middle ground) finding common perspectives on issues that may tend to divide others.


 

What We Believe

The mystery of the Christian liturgy well celebrated remains: God is faithful and waits.

So the liturgy in its whole range—from daily prayer, to initiation rites, to Eucharist, to burying the dead—waits patiently for our humanity to be opened to it. The liturgy waits patiently, like the Scriptures, like Jesus, like the whole life of God who, as Tolstoy once observed, “Sees the truth but waits.” (1)

Heaven is revealed upon the earth both in the cup of cold water which is given to the poor... and in Michelangelo’s David: in both the dance of a child and the melody of Mozart. (2)

Alertness is all. (3)

Belief is appropriately a moving target, which shifts and adjusts with time, circumstances, and the continuing new revelation of the Spirit of God. It’s also so varied and complex—even within a single parish—that any attempt at a summary would be immediately misleading. Belief isn’t a set of ideas or propositions. It’s rather an approach to life and a dynamic engagement with the mystery of God.

The Episcopal Church is not principally identified by its adoption of a creed or an approved statement of doctrine; we are primarily a community formed by the practice of worship. Praying shapes our believing, and, thus, there are no insiders and outsiders but, instead, we are people who gather prayerfully to seek, across all divisions, peace and unity with God and one another and the joy that comes from sharing love directly and personally. Our churchyard, our church building, our facilities, our programs, our ministries, and our worship are open to all, because openness without limitation is the keenest form of spiritual alertness.

Being alert in this way opens to us the reality of God’s heaven in our midst and in our world. Heaven is not merely a distant reward. This is a terrible caricature. Glimpses of heaven are, rather, present to us in the beauty of creation and in our sharing the image of God in our own creativity. They’re also made manifest in many acts of redemption: by our reaching out in care, by our offering forgiveness and reconciliation, and by our making our first delight service to others.

True belief unfolds slowly, across the spans of lifetimes. Our first trust, however, is in the unswerving faithfulness of God, which then makes us free to be always grateful and hopeful, unfettered by anger, bitterness, or judgment and able to live progressively into the realization that all life is the gift of grace. And in this we are able, without exception, to rejoice.

  

1) Donald Saliers: Worship as Theology

2) Gerardus van der Leeuw: Sacred and Profane Beauty

3) Michael Fishbane: Spiritual Attunement


 

What makes us Episcopalians?

Our roots are in 18 centuries of Christianity in England. The Anglican Church officially began in 16th century England at the time of the Reformation. We are part of the Anglican Communion--a branch of the one, holy, catholic (world-wide) and apostolic (in the tradition of the Apostles) church. 

In the United States we are called The Episcopal (Greek episcope-- having Bishops) Church. As individuals, we are called Episcopalians. Four strands of authority guide the search for truth.

·        Scripture: The Bible, living and dynamic, is the basis for liturgy and worship.

·        Tradition: We look to tradition to guide us in knowing the truth.

·        Reason: We are a people who ask questions and employ logic.

·        Experience: We test our faith in the world.

The Book of Common Prayer is one of the resources which guides liturgy during the church seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.

Click here for a slide show on the polity of the Episcopal Church.


 

Church of the Redeemer - 230 Pennswood Road - Bryn Mawr, PA 19010