The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is made up of more than 80 million members in 44 regional and national member churches in more than 160 countries.
The Episcopal Church is divided into geographic areas known as dioceses. Saint Mark’s is part of the Diocese of Olympia, one of two dioceses in Washington. More on the Diocese of Olympia.
Basic beliefs are expressed in the Book of Common Prayer, and especially in the Catechism (page 845). Worship and sacramental life in The Episcopal Church are centered around the use of the Book of Common Prayer.
The foundation of faith in The Episcopal Church is often described using the image of a three-legged stool. The first leg of the stool is Holy Scripture. The catechism in the Prayer Book says of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament that “God inspired their human authors” and that “God still speaks to us through the Bible” (BCP 853). The Old Testament conveys the story of the covenant relationship between Israel and God. The New Testament reveals the Incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Holy Scripture serves as the touchstone of our lives.
The second leg of the stool is tradition. Tradition consists of the wisdom and teaching of those generations of saints who have gone before us. Tradition guides our living and our interpretation of Scripture.
The third leg of the stool is reason. We understand our human reason to be a gift from God. Therefore, the use of reason in interpreting Scripture, engaging the past Tradition of the Church, and navigating through the contingencies of our world is highly valued in The Episcopal Church.