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The Episcopal Church in the United States is part of the world-wide Anglican Communion that grew out of the Church of England. This Communion contains about 70 million members and is led by the Archbishop of Canterbury who is appointed by the monarch of England. The Episcopal Church is led by the Presiding Bishop who is elected every twelve years from the Bishops who lead the various dioceses in the United States. A diocese is a geographical division of the church which consists of individual congregations. Each congregation is led by a priest called the Rector or Vicar. A congregation without a priest may also be led by a member of the congregation.
General policies for the Episcopal Church are set by its General Convention which meets every three years; policies for the diocese, by the yearly diocesan convention; and policies for the congregation, by the Vestry or by a committee appointed by the bishop. During non-convention times the Church and diocese are governed by committees, some of whose members are elected, some appointed.
What does the Episcopal
1. A faith centered in the divinity and lordship of Jesus Christ.
2. A faith dedicated to serving the needs of the whole person -- physical, emotional, intellectual, volitional, relational, and spiritual.
3. A church family that allows each person to grow and mature at his or her own pace.
4. A community whose central action is worship conducted in traditional, time-tested forms which have been modernized to meet contemporary worship requirements.
5. A body of committed Christians who encourage intellectual honesty and strive to lead lives dedicated to loving and serving God and one's neighbor.
6. A willingness to discuss any issue in a non-judgmental spirit.
7. A spiritual life firmly rooted in a life of prayer and worship.
8. An eagerness to accept you just as you are in the name of Christ.
We believe in one God who exists in three simultaneous yet separate states of being (persons) -- often referred to as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- or Creator, Savior, and Sanctifier. This doctrine is called the Trinity and is the foundation for most of our other beliefs. We believe that Jesus Christ was God living on earth as a human being, and we accept him as our Lord and Savior: Jesus was born, lived, ate, drank, and died just like any other person. We also believe that he died on the cross for us and that he was resurrected for us, so that we might have eternal everlasting life in God's full presence. We believe that Jesus was both fully divine and fully human.
We believe that the Holy Scriptures are the word of God and contain all things necessary for salvation. Episcopalians have a very high regard for the Bible; in fact, our worship services are 85% from the Bible.
Members of the Episcopal Church hold a wide variety of views on current social issues -- from the very conservative to the very liberal. We are not held together by common opinions or views, but by our common worship and the respect we give to each person's conscience.
The only requirement for membership in the Episcopal Church is baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We accept as valid the trinitarian baptism of all churches, and we invite all baptized Christians to participate in Holy Communion.
Our beliefs are fully summarized in the Nicene Creed found on pages 326 and 358 of the Book of Common Prayer, the Apostle's Creed found on pages 96 and 120, and the Outline of the Faith found on page 845.
What are Episcopal
Worship Services like?
Regular worship is an important part of the Episcopal faith. We believe that our services have many features that bring us closer to God.
We believe that liturgy is an art form consisting of a marvelous balance among sound, sight, odors, taste and touch. We see liturgy as the only art form that uses and enhances all five senses, and we find it to be one of the few human activities that involves, stimulates and nurtures the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, volitional, and physical aspects of human beings in a truly communal way.
Our services are biblically centered. Each service contains four Scripture readings: The Old Testament, the Psalms, the Epistles, and the Gospel. In addition, much of the rest of the service is taken directly from the Bible.
The Episcopal service has a strong, long-standing tradition of music -- both traditional and contemporary. The music may consist of music as old as Gregorian Chant, as traditional as well-known hymns, and as modern as guitar eucharists and Christian rock.
Preaching is an important part of our worship. Sermons are designed to present to the congregation God's living Word. We believe that God the Holy Spirit speaks to his people through the preacher. We expect the sermons to be stimulating spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually.
We believe that through the media of physical matter and actions God gives us many free spiritual gifts. We call these media Sacraments. There are seven sacramental worship services in the Episcopal Church: Holy Eucharist (The Lord's Supper), Holy Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders (Ordination), Holy Matrimony (Marriage), Holy Unction (Healing), and Reconciliation of a Penitent (Confession).
Liturgical words and actions are combined to express our understanding of God's presence in our world and in our lives. Both ancient and modern in nature, the basic form of our services (and some of the exact words) were in place by the third century. Our Book of Common Prayer was written in 1549 and has gone through many revisions, most recently in 1979.
Our service is designed to help us joyfully express our love for God and our gratitude towards God for his gifts of Jesus and eternal life; to help us delight in life and God; to help us remember God's actions on our behalf throughout history; to make God's presence an immediate and personal reality; to foster unity and community with all of God's people; and to encourage us to serve the world as God's ambassadors.
What about Saint
Anselm Episcopal Church?
Saint Anselm is one of thousands of congregations in the Episcopal Church. We are a member of the Diocese of Southwest Florida led by Bishop John B. Lipscomb. We are also a member of a subdivision of this diocese called a deanery. We belong to the Fort Myers Deanery. Our current dean is William Dodd from Saint Michael's and All Angels of Sanibel Island.
Saint Anselm Episcopal Church has been serving Lehigh Acres since April 23, 1961 when services were first held in the offices of the Lehigh Acres Development Company. We are a Jesus-centered congregation of love, spirituality, service, and evangelism.
Saint Anselm is a family of God that is seeking to know God and to make God known. We seek to discover what God intends for us to be and to do in God's world.
Our purpose is to:
1. Continuously participate in a personal relationship with Jesus and constantly experience and express delight and joy in all aspects of our lives because of that relationship.
2. Proclaim Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, so that we and others will come to know Him more fully as Savior and follow Him as Lord.
3. Make visible the Good News of Jesus Christ through our fellowship and sharing.
4. Be a witness for Jesus to the world by word and example through talking about him and serving him both within and outside the church.
Our present building was begun on June
3, 1965 and the finished church was dedicated to the service of Almighty
God on December 19, 1965 by the Right Reverend Harwood Sturtevant,
Bishop. The current rectory was built in 1968. The fellowship
Hall was dedicated on June 6, 1974. We are planning for additional
facilities as needed.
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