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About Us

Who we are

Our Faith

Our Mission

Becoming a Christian, a Believer in Jesus Christ

Our Logo and Motto

 

Who We Are


We are Christians
First and foremost we are believers in, and followers of, the resurrected Son of God Jesus Christ. We’ll talk more about what that means later, but the main thing is we are part of a group of people who for 2000 years have attempted to follow Jesus as his disciples and acknowledge him as our Lord. We are a “religion” in that we have a set group of beliefs about God and the world, a series of beliefs about prayer and worship, and a general idea of right and wrong behaviors as a result of our beliefs. These beliefs about the nature of God and world, and our place in it, come from what we call the Holy Scriptures (The Bible) and are also passed down to us by Christians past. The basics of those beliefs can be found in what is called the “Nicene Creed” which we recite each Sunday. For more information also see the section “What we Believe” below.

We are part of the Episcopal Church and the Worldwide Anglican Communion
Not all Christians agree on everything, and over time we have found ourselves in an unfortunate state of disunity. When Jesus was on earth he started his Church from twelve original disciples and today most groups of Christians refer to themselves as being part of a “Church”, ie the Baptist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Catholic Church, etc. In reality all Christians are unified in our Lord Jesus, though we are divided institutionally over differences in belief and practice. We are called the Episcopal Church because we have Bishops. The word “Episcopal” comes from the Greek word in the Bible used for an “overseer” or “Bishop”, episcopos. Don’t other Churches as well? Yes, and so more specifically The Episcopal Church is the name for those Christians who were part of the Church of England before the American Revolution. After the war we starting calling ourselves the Episcopal Church, or Episcopalians, because we believe in a Church governed by Bishops. Today we’re also part of a worldwide communion of Churches connected to the Church of England called the Anglican Communion.

We have been in Sherman since 1873
The first Episcopalians in this area of Texas formed St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in 1873. Our first building was actually father north from downtown but this new one was built in 1909. Some of the stained glass dates to the first building in the late 1800’s! So we’ve been a part of Sherman for a long time and continue to be involved in the community is various ways. Today we work with Wakefield Elementary, our neighborhood school, by supporting them in prayer, in providing school supplies, in helping struggling parents with Christmas gifts, and with supporting them during end of the year testing. We’ve also been a regular sight at downtown events, always excited to see Sherman grow and prosper! We have several members who help with Meals on Wheels to the elderly, we’ve fielded a team for Relay for Life, we’ve hosted an awareness event on human trafficking, and we’ve supported other charities in the area. What we do changes each year based on need and discernment so just ask for more information!

We practice timeless Christian forms of Worship and Prayer
One of the first things you will notice about us is our unique way of worship called “liturgy”. Our liturgy and traditions are rooted in the early days of the Church, which follow even older patterns of Jewish worship. Jesus and his original followers, the Disciples, were Jews and so was the early Church. Jewish worship of the time was either centered on the Temple, with various rituals and sacrifices, or the synagogues and homes, with their own sets of written prayers and practices. First, many Jewish gatherings would involve a series of prayers, readings from the Scriptures, and a commentary on a passage. Often the prayers were chanted - and in fact chanted prayers were the standard practice of the day! Secondly, there were various ritual meals, either fellowship meals or high holy day meals such as the Passover, with their own rituals and traditions. These ritual meals became the Christian Eucharist through the example of Jesus, and was added onto the earlier synagogue style worship of readings and prayers. Early on Christians also read passages from the Gospels, and eventually Paul’s letters along with the rest of the New Testament. Over time this liturgy was adapted as the Church spread into Europe, but the basic rituals and structures remained similar across the entire Christian world. We keep these traditions and rituals rooted in early Christian practice following Jesus, and in common with most Christians around the world, with some prayers going back before the year 400!

We are the best of both worlds
One term usually used to describe the Episcopal and Anglican way of being Christian is via media, or “middle way”. In the history of the Church of England this came to mean a middle ground between being Protestant and being Catholic. Over time we developed a way of being “Reformed Catholic”, so that we keep the best of the catholic tradition while also correcting aspects of it that we believe had gone astray in the late Medieval Era. This is not a mushy middle, but a principled stance to see the Holy Spirit’s work in the entire history of the Church - while also grounding ourselves in the need to examine things by the Holy Scriptures. It is often a hard road to take, and most of us lean in one direction or the other, but it’s also one of the great strengths of The Episcopal Church.

Our Faith


We Believe in God
We believe there exists a God who loves us and who made us in his image: to be like him and to be stewards of creation. God is eternal, or outside of time itself, and also all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present. One thing that makes the Christian belief about God unique is we also believe God is “Trinity”. This may be a word you have heard before. This means that there is in essence one and only one God, but that this one God exists as three “persons”. We call these Divine Persons the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; each is fully God, each is distinct, but there is only one God. Think of it as three “whos” in one “what”. God is an unfathomable mystery indeed! We believe life should be focused on orienting ourselves to the Triune God and his will, and that we humans have the privilege of a genuine connection with God our creator, a connection made possible because of Jesus.

We Believe in Jesus
When Jesus was on earth he asked his disciples: “who do you say that I am?” This question is just as relevant now: who do you say that Jesus is? A great teacher? A wise sage? A political revolutionary? A madman? A prophet? Who was and is this Jesus? Many people may believe in one God, but what makes Christians unique is our belief about and belief in Jesus. We believe Jesus is the Christ, the Lord, the Son of the living God! What does this mean? Simply that in the person of Jesus God the Son took on our human nature to live as one of us on earth. He taught the ways of God, he healed the sick, he displayed God’s power in miracles, and at the last he was rejected by those in power and killed in the most horrible way - on the cross when he died for our sins. But he didn’t stay dead! Three days later he rose again from the dead and was fully alive in a restored and resurrected body. After showing himself to his disciples (including his wounds) and others he ascended back into Heaven where we wait until the time he will return to fix all that is broken in our world, make everything right, bring life back to the dead, and usher in a perfect Kingdom and a renewed creation.

We Believe in the Holy Spirit
Jesus may have ascended into Heaven, but God is still here primarily though the Holy Spirit who Jesus promised to send us after he left. The Holy Spirit is the life of the Church, has continued to guide the Church from the time of the Apostles, and also empowers us now for service to Jesus. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit has been in showing us who God is, most importantly in the Scriptures, and guides the Church in the interpretation of those Scriptures. The other main role of the Spirit is to bring conviction of ways we’ve walked away from God, and to bring us back (repentance) to following our Lord.

We Believe in the Bible
The Bible (Holy Scriptures) is one of the most read and discussed books in the world, and the central sacred text of the Christian Faith. The Bible is really about revelation, and revelation is really about love. If God is love then God must desire to communicate to us. This communication from God, about his will for us and how to connect with him, we call “revelation”. Revelation is then found in the Bible/Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments which, though written over a long period of time, is inspired by the Holy Spirit and so communicates God’s truth to his New Covenant people, the Church. In our Sunday worship you will hear a lot of the Scriptures being read. We always read some part of the Old Testament, about God’s work in ancient Israel, recite a Psalm (poetic hymn) together, something from the New Testament about God’s New Covenant people, and finally part of the Gospels which record the words and works of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We Believe in the Gospel
Gospel literally means “good news”, but good news of what exactly? At the time of Jesus the Greek word for “Gospel” was often used for the rule of a new emperor; it was a royal proclamation that someone new was in charge, so naturally it was also a call to loyalty. With the resurrection and ascension of Jesus early Christians claimed, as we still do, that Jesus is the true Lord and so the Caesars of the world are not. The Gospel is a royal proclamation , not about us, but about Jesus: that he is King of kings, and Lord of lords who triumphed over sin, death, and hell for ever. The result of that victory is the Gospel news of salvation: that through faith in Jesus we can also have that victory and be freed from the bondage to sin and evil in our lives. It is a call to loyalty, in that the Gospel calls all people to come to Jesus and be his disciples by Baptism—placing our ultimate trust and faith in him as Lord and Savior. Finally, it is a promise of new life, that Jesus will return to redeem us, make judgment on evil, and bring us complete victory over death as we are raised from the dead to eternal life just as he was!

We Believe in the Church
The Church is the community of the God’s New Covenant, entered by Baptism and tasked by God to restore all people to unity with God and each other through Jesus Christ. The Church is the Body of Christ, made of all Baptized Christians both here on earth and those in the past who have passed on to be with Jesus. We are one people made of many different nations, tribes, and languages, but all in Covenant with the same God though faith in the same Jesus and united by the same Baptism. The Church is also a religious institution because we both have specific beliefs about God and a mission from God to proclaim his Gospel to the world. To fulfill that goal we have an organized structure, an institution built for God’s purposes in the world. In the Church we talk about four “orders” to this structure. First are Bishops, who can trace their ordination back to Jesus (“Historic Episcopate” or “Apostolic Succession”). Next are Priests who are extensions of the Bishop’s ministry, and have primary responsibility in the Eucharist and other Sacraments. Then Deacons, which literally means “servant”, who serve the Church and the people on behalf of the Bishop. Finally in our Church we list lay people (non-clergy) as an order as well with their own role in the mission of the Church. No matter the order, all are called to proclaim the Gospel and live for Jesus Christ.

We Believe in the Sacraments
One thing about believing that God created all things is that creation, though corrupted by evil, is good. So often when God works in our lives it’s through his creation and not against it. One phrase used for this by a famous medieval theologian, Thomas Aquinas,  is “grace perfects, but does no destroy, nature”. Grace is often given through physical objects such as bread and wine - which become Christ’s Body and Blood -  or by Holy Water, or by blessing ashes and palms. Even our bodies can be used to worship God though physical actions such as the making the sign of the cross or by kneeling in God’s presence. The primary way we see this is in the Sacraments: material objects that function as “means” to receive God’s grace such that by them we can have assurance that God is at work! The two main Sacraments are Baptism and the Eucharist. We also have five others often listed: Confession, Unction of the Sick, Ordination, Matrimony, and Confirmation.

We Believe in Forgiveness
When we confess our faith we often say something along the lines of “Jesus died for us” or “Jesus died for our sins”. Christians often use the word “atonement” to describe this event, which literally means “at one ment”, or making things one - an act of reconciliation. In this case fixing the broken relationship between God and us. Over time there have been various theories about how exactly the atonement “worked”; but at core what we mean is that God, the second person of the Trinity, became a human person Jesus, and through his death and resurrection redeemed, or rescued, us from the powers of sin and death. As part of this redemption we are given forgiveness of the many ways we have failed to love God and love others as Jesus commanded. This means that God has offered his forgiveness to you as well, no matter what your past has been - you too can have new life in Jesus Christ our Lord. This forgiveness is found in joining the New Covenant by Baptism when we turn our back to sin and turn to Jesus in faith.

We Believe in Eternal Life
Jesus didn’t just save us from sin, but also will save us from death itself. After Jesus died for our sins, he came back to life again in the same body, the resurrection, and so triumphed over death. Before ascending into Heaven he promised to return again, to finish the salvation of the world, and to raise all who believe in him to eternal life as he was raised. Essentially we believe that death is not the last word, and that life always triumphs in the end. Death, chaos, evil, and sin may seem to have the power but their time is short - Jesus has already won victory over them which we will experience when he returns again in glory to make all things new, a victory we can have as his New Covenant people who have been baptized as his disciples.

Our Mission


Our mission in Sherman is to grow in our love of God and unite all people with God through Jesus Christ.

We accomplish that through worshiping God who is reveled in Scripture, through being disciples of Jesus Christ the Son of God, through outreach in proclaiming the Gospel to all peoples, and through fellowship in love for one another.

Becoming a Christian, a Believer in Jesus Christ


The first and most important step in joining our Church is not about us but about the Savior we follow, Jesus Christ. We are his disciples first! If you believe that Jesus is truly the savior of the world — God who became a human being, died by being executed on a cross as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, rose again from the grave three days later — and desire to follow him as your Lord, taking his Gospel into the world he came to save; then it’s time to become a follower of Jesus: a Christian.

How do you follow Jesus? Our Lord gave us a simple way to set us on that path: Baptism. Baptism is a ceremony where you have blessed water poured on your forehead and anointed with blessed oil publicly on Easter — either at what we call the “Great Vigil” or on Easter Sunday morning. Simply put, this is a ceremony where God has promised his grace will be present to us, a Sacrament. Baptism is the sacrament of repentance for the forgiveness of sins whereby we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38) Baptism also allows you to fully take part in our Sunday worship by receiving another Sacrament, the bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ. Our priest can explain more about that later!

If you desire to follow Jesus the Christ as your Lord and Savior by becoming his disciple through Baptism, please indicate let us know! We will then enroll you into the Catechumenate, which is the preparation for Baptism. Our priest will be in contact with you for more information.

If you were Baptized in another Christian community then fantastic! If you have been baptized by water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit then we recognize you as a brother or sister in our Lord, for there is “One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism.” (Ephesians 4:5) Please indicate that on our Membership Form, which you can pick up when you visit, and let us know what Christian group Baptized you. This is also true for those Confirmed in another Church or wish to transfer membership from another Episcopal Parish.

Our Logo and Motto


Our logo is made of several symbolic elements that communicate who we are:

1- The White Cross: The Cross has been a Christian symbol for close to 2000 years, as it was on such a cross that Jesus died for the sins of the world. White is the color of purity for by the Cross of Christ we are washed and made clean from our sins and brokenness.

2- The Red Doors: Red Doors mean "sanctuary". You'll find the entrance to our Sanctuary has red doors which can be seen prominently from outside. By this you know that inside you can find peace with God and a place of prayer and protection.

3- The Golden Stole: The sash looking object is a "Stole" which is the Vestment worn by Deacons. St. Stephen is considered to be of the first Deacons as recorded in the Book of Acts chapter six. Deacons are above all servants, as we are called by Christ to be servants to each other and the world.

4- Our Motto: "To be Full of Faith and the Holy Spirit" is the way the Scriptures describe St. Stephen in Acts 6:5. Like Stephen we seek to be disciples of Jesus in being faithful to his calling and guided by the Spirit to fulfill our mission to grow in our love of God and unite all people with God through Jesus Christ.