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St Clement's Episcopal Church
We Believe

St Clement’s Episcopal Church is a community of faith in Rancho Cordova that is a local expression of a worldwide communion of believers. We are a welcoming and inclusive community of Christians who are all striving to become more faithful followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We’re not there yet, but we’re further along the road than we were before we started this journey of faith, and the Lord’s not done with us yet!   If you’d like to join us in this journey, come visit us on any Sunday. You’ll be most welcome! For service times and directions, click here.

If you’d like to learn more about who we are, what makes us different from (or similar to) other Christian churches, please keep on reading…

St Clement’s is an “Episcopal” Church. What does that mean? “Episcopal” comes from the Greek word used in the New Testament that literally means “overseer” but is usually translated by the English word “bishop.” The Episcopal Church is a church led by bishops, as well as by priests, deacons, and lay people. The church is divided into geographical units called a “diocese,” and a bishop administers each diocese. St Clements is just one of many Episcopal church communities in the Diocese of Northern California, an area from the top of San Francisco Bay to the Oregon border. For more information about the Diocese of Northern California, its churches and ministries, click here.

 

The Episcopal Church has been in America since the very beginning. Of course, prior to the American Revolution, it was the Church of England, since we were a part of England. Shortly after the Revolution, the remnants of England’s Church in the colonies also gained its independence from the parent Church. However, while the leadership of the church in this country changed, the worship style and belief did not. In the new United States of America, the English Church took on some of the characteristics of the new country. Not surprising, since some of the same Founding Fathers of our Country, like George Washington, were also the founders of the new Church. Our first President was also a vestryman at Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia. He and others designed a church governance structure very similar to that of our country, with two legislative houses, of Bishops (like the Senate) and Deputies (like the House of Representatives), lay people and clergy from every diocese in the church. And instead of a single Archbishop as chief administrator, we have a Presiding Bishop, who is elected by the bishops, clergy and people of the church, and serves for a 9 year term. For more information about the Episcopal Church, what we believe and what we do in ministry, click here.

The Episcopal Church, as explained above, is related to the Church of England. Christianity has been in England since the days of the Roman Empire, but it has taken different forms over the many centuries since then. For a thousand years, the church in England was part of the Roman Catholic Church in western Europe. During the Reformation in the 1500’s, and the reign of King Henry VIII, the Church in England was separated from Rome and became completely independent. During the reign of Henry’s son, Edward VI, the church’s worship was changed from Latin to English, an approved English translation of the Bible was published, and other reforms were made. During the reign of Henry’s daughter, Elizabeth I, Anglicanism as a distinct expression of Christianity was articulated to more clearly differentiate it from the Roman Catholic church on the one hand, and other protestant or reformed churches on the other.

As a result of England’s colonial expansion around the globe, the English or Anglican Church spread as well. As former colonies gained political independence from England, the Anglican churches in those newly independent countries also became independently self-governing. Thus, almost anywhere you might travel today, from Australia to Canada, many countries in Africa to Hong Kong and India, and many parts in between, you will find a local Anglican Church. However, Anglicans around the world recognize our common heritage and connection to the Church of England, which grounds our worship style and theology in the historic faith of the church going back to the first centuries.  While independent, we also recognize our inter-dependence. And we cooperate with each other through a structure called the Anglican Communion. Anglicans (or, as we are known in the United States and Scotland, “Episcopalians”) all worship using the Book of Common Prayer and the Bible. We all recognize the historic creeds of the Christian faith, the ministry of bishops, priests, deacons and lay people, and the seven Sacraments of the church. For more information about the worldwide Anglican Communion, its member churches and their ministries, click here.