St. Patrick’s is part of the Anglican Church in North America, which is part of the Anglican Communion. With 80 Million members, it is the 3rd largest Christian community in the world. The Churches of the Anglican Communion trace their roots from Church of England’s expansion and missionary work across the world, particularly in the 1700’s and 1800’s. Christianity has existed in England from at least the 3rd century, and likely dates to the 1st century through the witness of Roman soldiers or Jewish converts.
Anglicanism, in many ways, brings together the best of two approaches to Christianity. It embraces liturgical and sacramental worship which has its roots in the early Church and also maintains a commitment to Biblical authority and focus brought about by the Reformation. At St. Patrick’s we are very intentional about maintaining this dual focus and it is one of the key features that makes St. Patrick’s unique.
Our parish was originally part of All Saint’s Episcopal Church which was founded by our current Rector, Fr. Ray Kasch. In 2006, due to reasons of conscience over 85% of the parish decided to leave the Episcopal church because of its departure from historic Christian faith and practice. The members who left formed St. Patrick’s, which has developed into a healthy, vibrant, and growing parish.
ON BEING A CHRISTIAN
Anglicanism is a particular approach and way of living the Christian faith. However, the basic Christian faith is the foundation. Our catechism spells this out in the following way:
You need to be clear from the beginning that God creates human beings for intimacy with himself; but no one naturally fulfills this purpose. We are all out of step with God. In Bible language, we are sinners, guilty before God and separated from him. Life in Christ is, first and foremost, God taking loving action to remedy a dire situation.
The key facts of this divine remedy, which the Bible calls the Gospel (meaning “good news”), are these: God the Father sent his eternal Son into this world to reconcile us sinners to him, and to preserve and prepare us for his glory in the life to come. Born of the Virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit, the Son, whose human name is Jesus, lived a perfect life, died a criminal’s death as a sacrifice for our sins, and rose from the grave to rule as Christ (meaning “the Anointed”) on his Father’s behalf in the Kingdom of God. Now reigning in heaven, he continues to draw sinners to himself through communication of the Gospel here on earth. He enables us by the Holy Spirit to turn whole-heartedly from our sinful and self-centered ways (repentance) and to entrust ourselves to him to live in union and communion with him (faith). In spiritual terms, self-centeredness is the way of death, and fellowship with Christ is the way of life. Holy Baptism, the rite of entry into the Church’s fellowship, marks this transition from death to life in Christ. The Apostle Peter said, as he proclaimed the Gospel on Pentecost morning: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (Acts 2:38-39).
God the Father calls us to himself through God the Son. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). As we come to the Father through Jesus Christ, we experience the unconditional and transforming love of God.
God the Son calls us to believe in him. After Jesus was raised from the dead, one of his followers named Thomas said that he would only believe if he could see Jesus and touch his wounds. Jesus later appeared, held out his hands, and told Thomas to put his finger in the wounds. Thomas then exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). We may understand a great deal about Jesus, as Thomas did before this encounter, but that is not the same as personally believing in Jesus as our Lord and God. We can attend church services and do many good things without knowing the risen Jesus. Knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord means personally believing in him, surrendering our lives to him, and living as his joyful followers.
God the Holy Spirit enlightens our minds and hearts to believe in Jesus, and gives us spiritual birth and life as we do. Our loving Father will “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13). As we place our faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us and wonderfully provides us with power and gifts for life and ministry as Jesus’ disciples. To live faithfully as Christians we must rely upon the equipping and empowering of the Holy Spirit.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are near to us at all times and will hear us whenever we pray with sincerity, truly meaning what we say. God calls us to repentance and faith in Christ to know the life he has called us to live.
*Adapted from the Catechism of the Anglican Church in North America, pages 9-11.
From the moment I stepped foot into St. Patrick’s, I knew that I’d found home. Here, the focus of worship is truly on Christ, not ourselves, and I can say without a doubt that I’ve been drawn closer to God because of the worship, the ministers, and the people here.
“From our very first Sunday, we were welcomed into the vibrant community of St. Patrick’s. We are so grateful to have found a church home that is theologically sound, offers many opportunities to get involved, and loves all of its members–new or old.”