History of the Local Church
There has been regular Episcopal Worship in Minot since 1893. Some of the earliest services were held in the Bishop’s traveling railroad car. A wooden building was constructed on the present site in 1901. the current brick building (remodeled many times) was completed in 1921. The organ was installed in 1930, and the stained glass dates from the 1950’s. The Parish Hall downstairs was substantially remodeled in 1956, again in the 1970’s and again in 2001. The new West Entrance was completed in 1983 and the new East Entrance in 1991. A formal history of All Saint’s, written by a professional historian, was completed at the time of the church’s centennial, in 1993.
History of the Episcopal Church
Many of the early settlers in America–particularly in the mid-Atlantic states—were Anglicans, that is, members of the Church of England. The was an Anglican Church at Jamestown in 1607, and most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Anglicans. But after the War for Independence, church leaders wanted a new name, one not connected with England. They chose the name Episcopalian because bishops are important in our structure, and the Greek word episcopos means bishop. The first bishop had to travel to Scotland to be consecrated because English Bishops were unwilling to do so. The Church was originally called the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (PECUSA), but the word Protestant was dropped in 1979. The Episcopal Church is part of the world-wide Anglican Communion, which has over 80 million members, making it the fourth largest Christian denomination in the world.
Many people associate the founding of the Church of England with King Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon, but the facts are more complex. There was a church in England, operating with great autonomy, long before Henry determined to get himself a male heir at any cost. There were Christians in England in Roman times, and when Pope Gregory sent Augustine of Canterbury to England in the 6th century, Celtic Christianity had been flourishing in Ireland and Northern England for centuries. In fact, Roman Christianity established itself only with great difficulty in England, and only after a difficult convention, held in 634, worked out compromises.
In the 16th century, Church leaders in England were consulting and studying with leaders in the Protestant Reformation on the continent from its beginnings. When Henry declared the England Church independent of the Pope’s authority in 1534, he took another step down a well-established road. The Church in England participated in many elements of the reformation, including translating the Bible into the language of the people and allowing priests to marry. But they maintained many Roman practices, including the basic shape of the liturgy. As the reformation developed, the Church developed what it called the “via media” (middle way) between Protestant and Roman Catholic doctrine.
Our Doctrine and Practices
Our history goes a long way toward explaining our doctrine and practices, as a bridge church. Like the Roman Church, we maintain a strong commitment to a structured liturgy with deep roots going back to the primitive church. The Holy Communion (Eucharist), commemorating the last supper, is available every Sunday when a priest can be present. Like most Protestant Churches, we allow our priests to marry, we ordain women as priests and bishops, and we welcome remarried couples into full membership. We acknowledge Biblical authority in a context of solid scholarly and historical study. We encourage intellectual curiosity, and we respect each person’s integrity in matters of faith.