St. James's is a parish of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut, and The Episcopal Church in Connecticut is one of over 100 domestic and overseas dioceses in The Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church is one of 38 Episcopal or Anglican churches around the world that comprise the worldwide Anglican Communion. Congregations of the Church of England in the former American colonies formed the Episcopal Church in 1789. The word "Episcopal" means "having bishops"; it is derived from the Greek word for bishop, epishttp://www.episcopalchurch.orgkopos. Members of the Church are called Episcopalians. The Episcopal Church is also called Anglican because its heritage is English and because it is still in communion (affiliated) with the Church of England and other Anglican Churches around the world. These Churches make up the Anglican Communion, with nearly 80 million members in 44 regional and national member churches around the globe in over 160 countries. Bishops of the Anglican Communion meet every ten years at the Lambeth Conference in England.
Anglicanism includes both Catholic and Protestant traditions. In the 16th century, the Church of England, rejecting the claim of the Pope's universal authority, broke with the Roman Catholic Church, yet preserved the ancient apostolic faith, the ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, and the sacraments, and so remained Catholic. However, Anglicans are at the same time Protestant, recognizing the importance of Scripture, tradition and reason in understanding God's will for any age and circumstance.
The worship, policy and program of the Episcopal Church are governed by its General Convention, which meets every three years. General Convention is composed of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, the latter made up of lay and clergy representatives from all the Church's dioceses and missionary districts. A Presiding Bishop is elected by the House of Bishops and confirmed by the House of Deputies to act as the Church's chief pastor, and to represent the national Episcopal Church with respect to other faith communities and to the secular world. The Presiding Bishop also provides leadership in developing the policy of the Episcopal Church. The current Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, was elected at the General Convention in June of 2015 and consecrated that November.
In the words of our current Presiding Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, "Jesus came and started a movement and we are the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement."
The Episcopal Church in Connecticut is part of that - you might say that we are the Connecticut Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.
The Episcopal Church in Connecticut ("ECCT") is the collective witness of its 168 parishes and worshiping communities across the state. We believe that in our Baptism, we are co-missioned to participate in God's mission of restoring and reconciling the world. We recognize the changes taking place in our society and in the institution of the church, and we are listening to where God is active so that we can join God's work of restoration and reconciliation. We are learning how to "travel lightly, into the neighborhood, following Jesus."
The basic unit of the Episcopal Church is the diocese, a geographic area. It is headed by a bishop. (The word "Episcopal" comes from the Greek "episcopos" meaning overseer). Our diocesan bishop is the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, 15th bishop of Connecticut.
He works with the Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan. Based on 2013 parish reports, there are about 54,000 active baptized members in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut and average Sunday attendance is about 16,000. The annual business meeting of the diocese is called the Annual Convention, and takes place in October or November.