St. John’s Episcopal Church does not stand alone in the world. It is in communion with our diocese, known as the Episcopal Church In Connecticut, and the Right Reverend Ian Douglas, who is our bishop. The Diocese is one of more than 100 dioceses that make up the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, which is, in turn, a province of the Anglican Communion, the world-wide federation of churches that originated as the Church of England. The Episcopal Church in the United States does not have an Archbishop, but rather, a Presiding Bishop, who is considered the first among equals among the American bishops. Our Presiding Bishop is the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori. She was previously Bishop of Nevada, and became Presiding Bishop in 2006.
Another great website that will give you lots of information about Anglicanism is anglicansonline.org. Also worth a visit is The Episcopal Cafe, an excellent collection of blogs and current news and spiritual reflections about the Episcopal Church.
If you are not familiar with the Episcopal Church, it is a movement that blends traditions from both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. As in Roman Catholic worship, our worship centers on celebrating the Lord’s Supper (also called Communion or the Mass or the Eucharist). As in the Protestant tradition, the Bible is considered to be very important (but not word-for-word, literally true), and members are encouraged to think for themselves. Our clergy include bishops, priests and deacons who have been ordained in a chain of succession going back to the Apostles, Jesus’ followers. Our clergy are both men and women, single or married, and of any sexual orientation and gender identity.
In its origins, the Episcopal Church grew out of the blending of traditions that appear to be opposites of one another, and the ability to find a balance or a creative combination is characteristic of the Episcopal Church in many ways. Because of this, there is great variety as you visit from church to church. Often, a great diversity of views and backgrounds is represented within individual churches. We believe this reflects God’s desire to reconcile all people to one another, and to God, through Jesus Christ.