St. Thomas' Episcopal Church
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Bethel, Connecticut
Search this site.View the site map.
Visit us on Facebook.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Episco-what?

 
You may come to this church with tons of questions.  Rather than impose rigid answers, we offer a warm, accepting community where you can explore your relationship to God at your own pace.


Always feel free to ask about anything at St. Thomas’ that seems confusing.  We are here to help.  Below are some questions you might have on your mind right now.

What's an Episcopalian?
Episcopalians are the American branch of the world-wide
Anglican Communion. The elected head of the Episcopal Church, known as the ‘Presiding Bishop,’  is Katharine Jefferts Schori.  Other bishops lead groups of congregations called dioceses.  St. Thomas' is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.

Episcopal worship is informed by the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). The Episcopal Church is said to sit at the intersection of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, and it shares characteristics of each.

Do you have to be an Episcopalian to attend St. Thomas’?
Not at all.   Wherever you are on the path – seeker, believer, struggler, skeptic – we welcome you.

What am I supposed to call a female priest?
Like male priests, female priests differ from one another in how they like to be addressed.  Our own priest-in-charge isn't picky about titles and happily answers to "Norma," "Pastor," "Mother Norma," "Reverend" and a form of address invented by two little boys in the church: "Hey, Priest Norma!"

I have a lot of doubts. Do I even belong in church when I don’t have faith?
Absolutely! We’re named after the apostle who doubted Jesus’ resurrection, after all.  At St. Thomas’, you can belong, no matter what your state of belief. Besides, doubt and faith are not necessarily enemies. Many people find it impossible to believe if they are not first free to doubt. St. Thomas’ is a fellowship of seekers, and we invite you to bring all of your questions with you.


What’s up with Baptism and Confirmation?

Baptism is the initiation rite into the church. It can be performed on infants, children, or adults who request it. Should you desire baptism for yourself or a child, please contact the priest. We ask that the candidate and/or their families receive some special instruction.

Baptisms are encouraged on four special days of the church year: the Easter Vigil, the day of Pentecost (50 days after Easter), the Sunday following All Saints’ Day (usually the first Sunday in November), and the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (usually the first Sunday in January).  Baptism is also encouraged on the Sunday of the bishop's annual visitation (date varies from year to year). Click here for more information about baptism at St. Thomas'.

Confirmation is the adult reaffirmation of baptismal vows, made before a bishop.

Say I’m interested in membership. What should I do?
We hope to provide welcoming opportunities for newcomers. The best thing to start is to talk to the priest.

If you have never been baptized in a Christian tradition, you will first prepare for Baptism and, if you desire it, Confirmation in a series of meetings.

If you know you were baptized and/or confirmed in another denomination, you may want to prepare for Reception into the Episcopal Church in similar meetings.


If you are a member of another Episcopal congregation, contact our parish office to request your Letter of Transfer.