Who we are
The Falls Church Episcopal is a welcoming community, called to be an enduring beacon of faith, hope, and love to all.
We seek to fulfill God’s will on Earth by gathering believers and seekers, providing sanctuary, ministering with the community, being a force for reconciliation, and serving as a source for transformation in ourselves and in the world.
The Episcopal Church follows the “via media” or middle way in our theology and discussions because we believe that, whether or not we agree on a particular topic, we all are beloved by God and can have thoughtful and respectful discussions. There are no prerequisites in the Episcopal Church… everyone is welcome.
We belong to The Diocese of Virginia, a community of over 80,000 baptized members and 425 clergy in 38 counties and several cities of central, northern and northwestern Virginia, serving the world through 180 congregations, six schools, two diocesan centers and six diocesan homes, and home to the largest Anglican seminary in the world.
Which belongs to The Episcopal Church, a community of 2.2 million members in 110 dioceses in the Americas and abroad. The word “episcopal” refers to governance by bishops. The historic episcopate (bishops) continues the work of the first apostles in the Church: guarding the faith, unity and discipline of the Church, and ordaining men and women to continue Christ’s ministry. An Episcopalian is a person who belongs to The Episcopal Church, which encompasses churches in the United States and 16 countries. These include: Taiwan, Micronesia, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Churches in Europe, (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland).
Which is in fellowship with The worldwide Anglican Communion, one of the world’s largest Christian faith communities, comprising 85 million people in over 165 countries. According to the Anglican Communion Office of the Anglican Consultative Council, “Anglicanism is one of the traditions, or expressions, of this Christian faith. Other Christian traditions include Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Protestant Churches, which include Lutheran, Baptist, and Pentecostal Churches. The word “Anglican” originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English Church, but in the past two centuries the tradition has been adopted around the world. Now 85 million members are part of national or regional Churches that call themselves Anglican (or Episcopal in some countries) which collectively are known as the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is 39 autonomous national and regional Churches plus six Extra Provincial Churches and dioceses; all of which are in Communion - in a reciprocal relationship - with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is the Communion's spiritual head.There is no Anglican central authority such as a pope. Each Church makes its own decisions in its own ways, guided by recommendations from the Lambeth Conference, Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates' Meeting and the Archbishop of Canterbury.”
Historically, bishops oversee the Church in particular geographic areas, known as dioceses. In the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury occupies a special position by virtue of history and tradition, but he does not hold a governing position.
Bishops from the Anglican Communion meet regularly for the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. Collegiality among bishops is the substitute for authority, and communal discernment is the substitute for decision-making power.
Each bishop and diocese, operating through a local annual council, determine the character of life and work in that diocese within a set of general decisions made by a triennial General Convention of The Episcopal Church. These decisions are formalized as canons, or rules that govern. Each diocese elects and sends clergy and lay representatives to the General Convention.
The Episcopal Church celebrates diversity of people and worship styles, yet all worship follows the form set out in the Book of Common Prayer. We are known for our engaging and beautiful worship services. For those who have grown up Roman Catholic, the service -- known as the Mass, Eucharist or Holy Communion -- will be familiar. For those of reformed tradition or those with no religious tradition, we think you may find a spiritual home in a church that respects its tradition and maintains its sense of awe and wonder at the power and mystery of God.
Most importantly of all: we strive to live by the example of Jesus Christ, welcoming the stranger and the outcast, helping our neighbors and offering love and forgiveness.