Membership in the Episcopal Church
Addition Information and Definitions:
From the Canons of the Episcopal Church: “No one shall be denied rights, status or access to an equal place in the life, worship, governance, or employment of this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital or family status (including pregnancy or child care plans), sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age, except as otherwise specified by Canons.” (Title I, Canon 17, Sec. 5)
The ‘official’ definitions for the following terms may be found online in the Canons of the Episcopal Church, Title I, Canon 17: https://www.generalconvention.org/publications#CandC . The following has been adapted, with gratefulness, from a document produced by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
Baptized Members: Everyone who has been baptized into the Christian Church may be enrolled as a Baptized Member of St. Francis. Anyone baptized at St. Francis is an official member of the parish, and their baptism is recorded in our register. Those not baptized at St. Francis, but who decide to join our parish later, may ‘transfer’ the record of their baptism to our parish. This is what it means when we say someone has ‘transferred by letter’ - they are ‘moving’ the record of their baptism (among other things) to their new congregation. (Don’t worry! Your old church should still keep the original record on file.) For any church, “Baptized Members” will usually be the largest number of people in the official register.
Communicants: Anyone who is a Baptized Member and has received communion (including homebound communion) at least three times over the last year is considered a Communicant in the Episcopal Church.
Communicants in Good Standing: Anyone who is a Baptized Member, is regular in attending worship (see above), and is active, prayerful and generous in giving to the work of ministry in the parish, is considered a Communicant in Good Standing.
Confirmed Communicants: Confirmation is the Sacrament by which a Baptized believer makes a mature public commitment to Christ in the presence of a Bishop through the laying on of hands (BCP 860). A Confirmed Communicant is a Communicant who has met the necessary qualifications for confirmation and undergone this rite of the Church. A Confirmed Communicant may be confirmed in the Episcopal Church, or their confirmation may be “received” from other branches of the Christian Church that adhere to the historic succession of Bishops (e.g., Roman Catholic, Lutheran).
Confirmed Communicants in Good Standing: This is a Communicant in Good Standing who has been confirmed, or their confirmation in another Christian denomination has been received in the Episcopal Church through the laying on of hands by a Bishop. A “CCiGS” is a person who is baptized and actively engaged as a disciple of Jesus Christ in a local Episcopal parish, like St. Francis, and fulfilling the commitment of their baptismal vows to “continue in the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers.” (BCP 304)
Other Persons Associated with St. Francis: It’s not uncommon for there to be active, engaged participants in a parish who, for whatever reason, have not transferred their membership from their former congregation. Regardless of such status, we want everyone who worships at St. Francis to feel welcomed and appreciated, and to feel that they are an integral part of our community. Please feel welcome to participate fully in our life together.
Note: The Canons of the Episcopal Church (I.17.1.b) identify all Baptized Members aged 16 and older to be “adult members”, and eligible per the above to serve on Vestry, hold office, and vote in congregational meetings. State Law, however, may limit certain actions and participation to those who are 18 and older.