The Episcopal Church




The Episcopal Church is a Christian denomination whose orders (ministry), doctrine, liturgy, and traditions are all derived from the Church of England, although Roman Catholics may find many similarities in the service and prayers as well. Originally organized in Philadelphia in 1789, the Episcopal Church in the mid-1990s reported 2.4 million members and about 7,400 separate congregations in the United States. Congregations are also referred to as parishes, and the parishes in a given geographical region compose a diocese. The Church is governed by a general convention that consists of a house of bishops and a house of deputies, who are elected at diocesan conventions by laity and clerical representatives from each parish. Bishops must be clergy, while deputies include both laity and clergy. Women have been ordained as clergy since the 1970s. To learn more about the Episcopal Church, click here. To learn more about the Episcopal Church in Massachusetts, visit the Diocese of Massachusetts’ website at


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