St. Martin of Tours is a member of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of East Tennessee and of the Anglican Communion, with more than 85 million members worldwide that share a rich heritage of faith from ancient Catholic (Roman and Celtic) origins in England and the Reformation in Europe.
Episcopalians find their commonality in worship. We celebrate Holy Eucharist (thanksgiving) with liturgy written in the Book of Common Prayer. Our Anglican identity is formed within the worshiping community by sacred conversation as we encounter God in the story of Jesus. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?” Matthew hears Jesus saying: “Come to me…and you’ll recover your life” (11:28-30). Consider Sandra, Jon, and Ashley:
Sandra sees herself as spiritual but not necessarily religious. Sacred conversation holds together both ideas: creating a dialogue between the external, “religious” dimension of her faith – Scripture, creeds, and liturgy; and its inner, “spiritual” dimension – experience of Christ through prayer, praise, and sanctity. The result is balanced, sacramental spirituality, valued by Episcopalians and reflected in our call and response (for example, “The Lord be with you, And also with you.”) worship style.
Jon sees himself a child of the Reformation, with family who are Baptists, Methodists, and Roman Catholics. Sacred conversation, its three-fold blessing of conversion, reconciliation, and redemption serves to mature a deeper faith for Jon that crosses denominational lines – a big-picture, Christ-centered faith embracing Protestant emphasis on the Bible as Word of God and Roman Catholic focus on the Ministry of Bread and Wine.
Lastly, Ashley dislikes church hypocrisy that splits what we say from what we do. Sacred conversation seeks to reconcile the two, for Word and act are synonyms in the eyes of faith. Resultant blessings are personal integrity and authentic community for others. St. Martin is a work in progress, as is Ashley herself, quite honestly – the fruit of God’s grace. We strive to live the values of our worship weekly – seeking a unity of purpose aptly reflected through the last words of Eucharistic worship: “Let us go forth…”
Whether sent into the world for ministry, or called apart for worship, teaching, and fellowship, members of St. Martin are enthusiastic – literally the word means “filled with God” – by the challenge of faithful living and wholesome loving.