About Us

We are Christians
We are 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.

 
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St. Stephen's Episcopal Church