Who Are Members?
Though not like a social or professional organization, the Episcopal Church does have membership criteria. These aren’t meant to say who is "in" or who is "out", but instead, to establish who has taken an intentional step to be part of a worshiping community and who is either still discerning, or someone we should invite to join us on this faith journey!
Church membership is defined by the canons of the Episcopal Church, specifically Title I, Canon 14 and Title 1, Canon 17 along with the Diocesan Constitution Article XIV and Canon 5.
That said, there is only one standard of membership in the Church, which is Baptism.
In the Episcopal Church a member is a person who has received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism (with water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit) whether in the Episcopal Church or another Christian Church, and whose baptism has been duly recorded in the Episcopal Church.
If you have been baptized, it should be recorded in the Church Register (a book used to keep track of such things). If you know you were baptized but don't know if it was ever recorded in that church’s Register, you can contact them and ask, or you may provide the church, city, and approximate date to the Parish Administrator and they will look into it. If we find it wasn’t recorded, your baptism can be recorded in our Church Register, and even if it was recorded at another church, we would like to add you to the list of “Baptized” in our Church Register.
Communicant / Adult Communicant
A Baptized Member (i.e. baptism is recorded) who receives Holy Communion at least three times during the preceding year is a Communicant. The three times a year reflects Episcopal Church history when in many parts of the country, Morning Prayer was the principal service and Holy Communion was only offered on occasion. A Communicant who is at least sixteen years of age is considered an Adult Communicant.
Communicant in Good Standing
A Communicant who for the previous year has been faithful in corporate worship (i.e. you come to church, unless for good cause are unable to do so) and have been faithful in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God is a Communicant in Good Standing. “Giving” is most easily reflected by monetary gifts, but isn't required to be.
Being a Communicant in Good Standing is often the criteria for being elected to leadership positions. You also are required to be a Communicant in Good Standing to be a Convention Lay Delegate, which is why after an election we provide a form to the Diocesan Office on which the Rector, Warden or Clerk affirms that you are.
What about Confirmation and Reception?
You may have noticed the membership criteria above doesn't include Confirmation or Reception. This is because Confirmation isn’t about membership, but the mature public affirmation of faith and the commitment of an individual to the responsibilities of their Baptism, and Reception is a way for those confirmed in another denomination to be formally welcomed into the Episcopal tradition. So, while these are strongly encouraged, they are not required.
Membership Transfers from Another Episcopal Parish
Members of the Episcopal Church (Baptized, Confirmed, or Received) are usually
recorded in the parish register of the church where they worship. If you would like
your membership transferred from another Episcopal church to Church of the
Servant, please contact our
Parish Administrator. She will contact your previous
church and arrange for a transfer of your “letter", as it is often called. Upon
completion, we will record your name in our parish register. If for some reason your
name was not recorded in that church’s register, the rector may approve registration
in our parish register.