Our spiritual life is centered on the two sacraments our Lord instituted: Holy Eucharist and Holy Baptism. We also celebrate the sacramental nature of other rites that have more specific focus such as confirmation, matrimony, the reconciliation of a penitent, ordination, and the laying on of hands for healing; however, the two basic sacraments are the core of our church life. The Episcopal Church in America, like other national churches under the umbrella of the worldwide Anglican Communion, is autonomous and has its own system of governance.
Because the framers of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church were by and large the same people shaping the Constitution of the United States, our church is democratic in structure and spirit. Our bishops are not appointed but elected by lay and clergy representatives to diocesan conventions. Rectors, the chief pastors of congregations, are selected and called by parish vestries and approved by the bishop.
The Episcopal Church resists easy classification as liberal or conservative, traditional or innovative. There are differences in theology. However widely our positions may diverge, we are united first by faith in Jesus Christ and in our use of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.