Beliefs, Mission & Values

Overview


Our purpose is to live the Way of Jesus by:

  • caring for one another and the stranger,
  • welcoming all who are searching for spiritual meaning,
  • putting our spirituality into action through working, praying, and giving, and
  • restoring people to healthy relationships with God and each other.

We are an inclusive community that celebrates the many ways God has made us. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, we recognize you as a child of God and invite you to participate in our worship. As part of the Episcopal Church, our central act of worship is the Holy Eucharist, which enables us to participate most deeply in God’s love for us, as we experience it in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Beliefs

We are a faith-based Christian community and find unity through the Book of Common Prayer and the Creeds we affirm together in worship. These are shared with all who come to worship with us.

Though it is common for many churches to list core beliefs as a matter of fact, we find that this approach does not really fit our faith community. Beliefs can easily be misunderstood and are oftentimes not well-received by people who are unfamiliar with them. People ask, “do I need to agree with “X, Y and Z” before walking through the door?” That’s a good question. “Can people belong to the same faith community and have varying beliefs?” For us, the answer to the second question is “yes”. Many people are approaching Christianity for the first time. Instead of coming to us with strongly held personal convictions, they are making a spiritual journey of discovery.

At Saint Thomas, we’ve decided to meet people on that journey and provide them a place where they can safely express doubt, ask questions, agree and disagree, and have an opportunity to grow into the Christian faith. We view faith and beliefs as a formative process. We invite people, like Jesus did, to come and experience Christianity. This is done through developing spiritual practices, teaching, learning, and sharing fellowship with one another. People will come to their own conclusions through these experiences. What we find is that we encounter one another and Jesus Christ in a wonderful way. Through our interactions, we grow together.

Mission


Our mission is to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world and to proclaim and live out the Gospel of Jesus. Walking a middle way between Roman Catholicism and Protestant traditions, we are a sacramental and worship-oriented church that promotes thoughtful debate about what God is calling us to do and be, as followers of Christ. We do this by:

  • Caring for one another and the stranger (John 15:12)
  • Inviting and welcoming all who are searching for deeper spiritual meaning through worship, prayer, and instruction (Matthew 11:28)
  • Providing opportunities to put our faith into action by working, praying, and giving for the spread of God’s Kingdom (Matthew 25:34-40)
  • Restoring all people to unity with God, creation, and each other through Christ (II Cor. 5:18-20, & Book of Common Prayer, page 855)

In addition to our parish mission, The Episcopal Church of the United States has embraced the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission:

    The Mission of the Church Is the Mission of Christ

  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  • To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
  • To respond to human need by loving service
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth


Values


Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

– Mark 12:29-30; 31 (New Revised Standard Version)

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

– John 13:34-35 (New Revised Standard Version)

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.

– Matthew 5:43-45 (New Revised Standard Version)

In Jesus’ commandments, we find that our most esteemed value is to love, beginning with “our Lord our God”, extending to ourselves and to those around us, even those who challenge us. These are our greatest commands and everything stems from them. These commandments form the basis of our faith, guiding our beliefs, mission and values. They are embodied in our Baptismal Covenant, the commitment we freely make to join the faith community.


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