St. Micheal's Church is a Parish in The Episcopal Diocese of Lexington. The Episcopal Diocese of Lexington is a part of Provence IV of The United States Episcopal Church or EC USA. (A Province is a national or regional grouping of one or more Diocese within a national Anglican or Episcopal Church) The EC USA is a member of The Worldwide Anglican Communion, a group of national Anglican and Episcopal churches originally organized under the Church of England (from which the word Anglican is derived).
The EC USA has 110 Diocese organized into 9 Provinces. Some start-up and other smaller congregations are unable to support themselves as a Parish and are called Missions. These may receive some support from the Diocese until they can stand on their own, when they become a Parish. There are about 36 Parishes and Missions in our Diocese.
Financial support comes from the members of the Parish. Occasionally a Parish may find an outside grant to aid in a specific ministry but this is not common. St. Michael's and the other Parishes and supports our Diocese financially; in return, the Diocese oversees and supports common ministries of a regional scope, or that are too large for any Parish. One of our Diocese projects, Reading Camp, a ministry of literacy, has now reached international scope, with camps being run in eight states, and in South Africa and Cameroon.
The Dioceses and Province have a similar relationship as do the Provinces and the ECU USA. Each Province caries out regional ministry and most manage at least one seminary for the training of Clergy. The EC USA carries out ministry of national and international scope, as does the The Worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Episcopal Church is firmly rooted in the catholic tradition. It is catholic in both general worship style and organization. Many of our worship forms stretch back hundreds of years. Administratively and liturgically, each Parish is under the oversight of an ordained cleric we call a Rector. Each Diocese is under the oversight of a consecrated cleric we call our Bishop. All Parish property is held in trust by the Parish for the Diocese which in turn holds property in trust for the EC USA. The Provinces, the EC USA, and the Worldwide Anglican Communion are led by other Bishops consecrated to oversee those organizations. In these ways we are a truly catholic church.
Yet the Episcopal church was born of the Protestant Reformation. Worship and ministry are not solely in the realm of our ordained clergy. We believe that each Christian, both in the ordained clergy and the non-ordained laity is called at Baptism to the shared ministry of Christ. This call comes regardless of our race, age, national origin, financial station, or gender identity. Each is invited to grow in the knowledge of our faith and fully participate in that faith through our worship and various other ministries.
Each Parish is administered by an elected board of non-ordained lay persons we call a Vestry. Each vestry-person is on one or more committees that plan the various ministries for the Parish. At vestry and committee meetings the Rector may speak but has no vote. Thus each Parish has a unique response to our common call to ministry.
Each year there is an annual convention of the Diocese where the delegates gather, pray, remember and plan our common Diocesan ministries. These conventions, convened by our Bishop, have both Clergy and Lay representation from each Parish and Mission in the Diocese. And the Diocese elects both Clergy and Lay representatives to serve on Diocesan committees, and others to go to triennial EC USA conventions where similar actions take place concerning the EC USA ministries. In these ways we have a distinctly protestant nature.
For more about St. Michael's read A History of St. Michael's Parish.
For more interesting sites related to St. Michael's, or some of our parishioners, see Related Links.