Our Beliefs

St. Mark's is an Episcopal church. "Episcopal" means "with bishops" and indicates that we follow the pattern of the early church, later the Roman Catholic Church, and still later the Church of England in having three "orders" of ordained ministry--bishops, priests, and deacons. St. Mark's is a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon, that extends from the coast to the Cascades and from the Washington to the California borders. Our bishop is the Rt. Rev. Diana Akiyama, the first Asian-American woman to serve as an Episcopal bishop.

The Episcopal Church's beliefs are not contained in a statement of faith or other list. Rather, our beliefs can be discerned from our worship contained within the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (1979). Within that book are the various forms of worship we practice, most notably the two primary sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist (Holy Communion). Other sacramental rites include Confirmation (adult affirmation of faith), Marriage (blessing of a union between two people), Unction (service of healing and anointing with holy oil), Ordination (setting apart persons for special roles), and Burial (commending the deceased to God's care). As a Protestant (rather than Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox) church, we also look to the Bible as an authority for faith and life in addition to church tradition and divinely-given human reason. This "three-legged stool" (scripture, tradition, and reason) of authority forms the core of who we are as a church.

More generally, the Episcopal Church affirms the historic creeds, including the Apostles' Creed, the basic baptismal creed of the Christian church:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
    creator of heaven and earth;
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
    He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
        and born of the Virgin Mary.
    He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
        was crucified, died, and was buried.
    He descended to the dead.
    On the third day he rose again.
    He ascended into heaven,
        and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins
    the resurrection of the body,
    and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Episcopal Church is also known to be more liberal and inclusive regarding social issues, including full LGBTQ+ inclusion (including marriage and ordination), as well as a strong proponent of social justice. We are a somewhat unique blend of ancient prayer practice and modern social justice beliefs. St. Mark's is in full communion and agreement with the beliefs and positions of The Episcopal Church, though, of course, our members are free to have their own opinions about various issues, and dialogue and study is encouraged.

As an offshoot of the Church of England, The Episcopal Church is also a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Most of all, if you want to know what we believe, come worship with us!