From Father Nigel Taber-Hamilton
Welcome! As the sign above our main doors says, no matter where you are on your journey of faith you are welcome here! There’s a place for you at St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods as together we continue to build a new future.
We are made up of people who have been Episcopalians all our lives, and those who have been Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Buddhist, Methodist, non-denominational, agnostic – or any number of faith traditions (or none) that permeate our culture. We are made up of people young and old; male and female; straight, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender; homeless and housed. If that describes you, you are welcome here.
Whatever your physical or mental abilities, the color of your skin or your cultural heritage, you are welcome here.
Whether you have never been in church before, or if you attend regularly, you are welcome here.
You are welcome here because Christ welcomes you, and so do we.
If your journey leads you to seek a deeper connection with God, a community of people who are diverse in belief, background and practice and yet unified in a spirit of love and compassion, and wanting opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others, then we think you will find us an engaging Christian community and your partners in living a full life!
We are firmly rooted in the ancient traditions of worship as the Episcopal Church has come to know them. We love to sing!
We find our common identity and ministries through baptism, welcoming all to God’s table.
We are also continuing to emerge as a gathering of people expressing faith in new ways, discovering and expressing the Good News in action
If you want more information, our main office phone is (360) 331-4887. Someone is there Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Or you can email Kim, our parish administrator at email@example.com. Or feel free to call me directly at (360) 929-3744.
Our Sunday worship is always a community meal – some call it communion or eucharist –and comes in two flavors: at 8 a.m. with traditional language and no music, and at 10:30 a.m. with hymns, songs and choir. (Even the 10:30 a.m. service could seem more formal than you’re used to, depending on your faith tradition; it’s based on 2,000 years of history!) We also have what we call a healing service on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m.
Nigel Taber-Hamilton, rector
OUR EPISCOPALIAN FAITH EXPLAINED
Our faith is based on the combined foundations of scripture, tradition and reason. Episcopalians are deeply committed to the unity of God’s Church, staying united in our diversity through our shared belief in the reconciling Gospel of Jesus Christ and in the use of the worship services defined by the Book of Common Prayer.
Because we have traditionally placed more emphasis on the comprehensiveness of God’s saving grace than on doctrinal conformity, we both recognize and accept a broad diversity of worship expressions and lifestyles as well as a variety of approaches to faith and commitment. As such, we are considered a bridge church, “the via media”, and are actively involved in ecumenical ventures.
As Episcopalians we recognize two primary sacraments – known as the Great Sacraments because they were authorized by Jesus: Baptism and Eucharist. Both are described as “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 857)
BAPTISM is the most important event in any Christian’s life. Baptism is a Christian’s ‘ordination’ – the event that both incorporates them into the Body of Christ, the Church, and also authorizes them to engage in ministry. Baptism is the entrance rite (the religious service) that marks the beginning of a life-long relationship with other Christians in the service of humanity. It also begins a lifelong process of education about our faith. Episcopalians also believe that in baptism God gives each individual a unique and equally valid ministry to serve as a living example of God’s love for all of creation. We believe that our shared life and worship empowers each of us to explore and follow that call to manifest God’s love in the world. As a result, the Episcopal Church has a deep commitment to social service.
The primary outward sign of Baptism is water, symbolizing spiritual washing and renewal. Inward grace includes union with Christ by birth into his family, the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit. Frequently, oil of Chrism is used to symbolize being sealed in the Holy Spirit. At Baptism we promise to turn away from evil and sin, renounce Satan, and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
EUCHARIST. This service, also called Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, or the Mass, is the sacrament of continuing community. In sharing the bread and wine as Jesus himself directed we draw him into our presence again, invoking his blessing on the bread and wine, on our lives of service and on our community. Through the outward signs of bread and wine we receive inward grace, strength in our union with Christ and each other, and a forecast of eternal life.