The Episcopal Church (TEC), less commonly known by its other official title, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America〔 (PECUSA〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=definition of PECUSA )〕〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=definition of PECUSA )〕 or ECUSA〔〔〔), is the United States-based member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It is a Christian church divided into nine provinces and has dioceses in the United States, Taiwan, Micronesia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, as well as the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe and the Navajoland Area Mission. The current Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is the Most Reverend Michael Curry, the first African American bishop to serve in that position.
The Episcopal Church describes itself as Reformed and "Protestant, Yet Catholic". In 2013, the Episcopal Church had 2,009,084 baptized members, of whom 1,866,758 were in the United States. In 2011, it was the nation's 14th largest denomination.〔 Note: The number of members given here is the total number of baptized members in 2012 (cf. Baptized Members by Province and Diocese 2002–2013).〕 The church's official liturgy and theology are found in the 1979 edition of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP).
The Church was organized after the American Revolution, when it became separate from the Church of England, whose clergy are required to swear allegiance to the British monarch as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Because of its origins, the Episcopal Church is considered apostolic, as its bishops can be traced back to the original apostles via holy orders.
The Episcopal Church was active in the Social Gospel movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since the 1960s and 1970s, the church has pursued a decidedly more liberal course. It has opposed the death penalty and supported the civil rights movement and affirmative action. Some of its leaders and priests are known for marching with influential civil rights demonstrators such as Martin Luther King, Jr.. The church calls for the full legal equality of gay and lesbian people, a movement partly inspired by their similar call for racial equality during the mid-1950s. In 2015, the church's 78th annual General Convention passed resolutions allowing the blessing of same-sex partnerships and approved two official liturgies to bless such unions, though they are not yet official rites within the Book of Common Prayer, the United States version of the collection of traditional rites, blessings, liturgies, and prayers used throughout the Anglican Communion.
On the question of abortion, the church's 26th Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first female archbishop in apostolic Christian history, adopted what she called a "nuanced approach", though the wider Church freely allows and maintains a number of diverse and differing views regarding many things. The Episcopal Church ordains women to the priesthood, the diaconate, and the episcopate, as well as LGBT people, despite opposition from several other communicants within the global Anglican Communion. In 2003, Gene Robinson was ordained in The Episcopal Church as the first ever openly gay bishop in apostolic Christian history.
There are two official names of the Episcopal Church specified in its constitution: "The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America" and "The Episcopal Church".〔 The latter is the more commonly used name.〔〔〔 In other languages, an equivalent is used. For example, in Spanish, the church is called ''La Iglesia Episcopal Protestante de los Estados Unidos de América'' or ''La Iglesia Episcopal''. and in French ''L'Église protestante épiscopale dans les États Unis d'Amérique'' or ''L'Église épiscopale''.
Until 1964, the only official name in use was "The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America". In the 19th century, High Church members advocated changing the name, which they felt did not acknowledge the church's Catholic heritage. They were opposed by the church's evangelical wing, which felt that the "Protestant Episcopal" label accurately reflected the Reformed character of Anglicanism. After 1877, alternative names were regularly proposed and rejected by the General Convention. A commonly proposed alternative was "the American Catholic Church". By the 1960s, opposition to dropping the word "Protestant" had largely subsided. In a 1964 General Convention compromise, priests and lay delegates suggested adding a preamble to the church's constitution, recognizing "The Episcopal Church" as a lawful alternate designation while still retaining the earlier name.
The 66th General Convention voted in 1979 to use the name "The Episcopal Church" (dropping the adjective "Protestant") in the Oath of Conformity of the Declaration for Ordination.〔(【引用サイトリンク】url=http://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/acts/acts_resolution-complete.pl?resolution=1979-A125 )〕 The evolution of the name can be seen in the church's Book of Common Prayer. In the 1928 BCP, the title page read, "According to the use of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America", whereas on the title page of the 1979 BCP it states, "'According to the use of The Episcopal Church".〔. The author is the former dean of Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, Alabama and the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry. Quotes: "Protestant consciousness within ECUSA, which used to be called PECUSA (i.e., the Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.) is moribund" (p. 56); "With the approval and lightening ascent of the 1979 Prayer Book came to the end, for all practical purposes, of Protestant churchmanship in what is now known aggressively as ECUSA" (p. 69).〕
The alternate name "The Episcopal Church in the United States of America" (ECUSA) has never been an official name of the church but is commonly seen in English. Since several other churches in the Anglican Communion also use the name "Episcopal", some, for example Anglicans Online, add the phrase "in the United States of America".〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Anglicans Online|The online centre of the Anglican / Episcopal world )〕 A common mistake by non-Episcopalians is over the use of the words "Episcopal" and "Episcopalians." An Episcopalian is a member of the Episcopal Church, but it is not the Episcopalian Church. Likewise, a member is not called an Episcopal, like a Methodist is a member of the Methodist Church. Episcopalian is a noun; Episcopal is an adjective.
The full legal name of the national church corporate body is the "Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America", which was incorporated by the legislature of New York and established in 1821. The membership of the corporation "shall be considered as comprehending all persons who are members of the Church".〔 This, however, should not be confused with the name of the church itself, as it is a distinct body relating to church governance.〔
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