In the Episcopal Church, we enjoy a spiritual tradition which can sustain a lifetime of deepening Christian discipleship for laity and clergy alike.
It is rooted in the daily praying of the scriptures, regular celebration of the Eucharist
(the service at which Christians follow Jesus’ wish that his followers meet to break bread and share a cup of wine as he did with his first disciples), and guided exploration of the riches of personal Christian prayer.
This balanced approach, if embedded over time in peoples’ lives, grounds us in the gifts of God to us all in our faith tradition, centered upon Jesus Christ in whom God’s life and our life are brought together, as the Liturgy puts it, in a wonderful exchange.
Because it has the Eucharist at its heart it also affirms the capacity of the world around us to disclose God’s presence. A prayer commonly used in our churches when bread and wine are offered captures this very well:
“Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, through your goodness, we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become the bread of life.”
Our lives are formed, and we grow spiritually, in the constant interplay between the divine gift and our human response, a wonderful exchange indeed.
In our churches, you will find plenty of opportunities for people to learn of these riches and to explore them in ways that are appropriate to their own stories and journeys, for the life of our church has a clear liturgical framework but also plenty of space for exploration and experiment.
Episcopalians look to all of this as a normal part of congregational life, certainly during the special seasons of Lent (before Easter) and Advent (before Christmas), but not only then.
Study groups, prayer groups, courses, alternative forms of worship abound – their great variety makes it likely you will find something to help you grow in Christ.
Our approach to the spiritual life offers a humane balance of freedom and discipline, scripture and tradition, and reflection on contemporary experience, encompassing all sorts of practices such as retreats, quiet days, sacramental confession (all may, none must, some should) and silence, to name only a few.
The aim is not to create holy huddles but, with time, attention and perseverance, to form prayerful people who can engage the world out of God’s engagement with them in the common life of the spirit and the body of Christ.