St. Matthew’s Church is a parish of the Anglican Catholic Church. We are Anglican because our tradition of prayer and worship is rooted in the Church of England and the Book of Common Prayer. We are Catholic because we believe and practice the universal or catholic faith of the church.
The word “Catholic” is often understood in opposition to the word “Protestant.” However, in the early church, the word catholic stood in opposition to the word, “heretic.” Those who held to the catholic or universal faith stood in opposition to those who rejected some essential aspect of that faith.
In the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, the Church of England opposed or protested against certain false beliefs and practices that had crept into the church precisely because those beliefs and practices were a departure from the ancient or catholic faith. Thus, Anglican faith is best understood as a reformed catholic faith. We believe that the church is in need of continual renewal and reformation. It must oppose the errors of every age in order to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
The Anglican tradition is both Catholic and Reformed. From the ancient church we inherit our worship, the creeds, the Apostolic Ministry of bishops, priests and deacons and the sacraments. From the Reformation, we inherit an emphasis on the Bible and the truth that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. To renew the church, we must reclaim and reassert both aspects of our inheritance.
Renewal of the church is our response to the problems of our time. The timeless truths of the faith and the spiritual disciplines that have formed the saints throughout history are the answer to consumer-culture Christianity that treats faith as another product and encourages religious consumers to pick and choose the aspects of the tradition that suit their tastes. The biblical truth that God calls all people to repent, believe and be changed into the image of his Son is the answer to the sort of individualism that encourages us to re-make Jesus in our own image.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Our mission is to proclaim the objective reality of God as he has revealed himself in Christ; to lead people in our time to genuine faith and faithfulness.
If you would like to learn more about us, we invite you to participate in our next Inquirers’ Class.