SOME COMMON QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
Question: What kind of a church is St. Thomas'?
Answer: It is a Christian congregation in the Anglican tradition (part of the worldwide Anglican Communion of over 88 million Christians around the world). It is also evangelical (teaching the 'good news' of God's grace in Jesus Christ), catholic (using the ancient 'universal' doctrines, order, worship and sacraments of God's grace in the Church through the centuries), reformed (in holding to the major protestant reforms of the Western Church in the 16th century), charismatic (seeking to use all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the Church), socially engaged (being doers and not just hearers of the liberating Word of God) and community focussed (seeking to meet the needs of the people in the place where God has put us).
Question: How do you become a member of St. Thomas'?
Answer: Membership in the Church of Jesus Christ is through faith and baptism. Any person may choose to begin attending our parish. If that person is not already baptized and wishes to be, he/she may be prepared for baptism and/or confirmation.
Question: I am not an Anglican, can I receive Holy Communion if I attend worship?
Answer: Anyone who is baptised and normally receives Communion in their own church is welcome to receive at St. Thomas'. If you would like to become a member of the congregation just speak to one of the clergy.
The following are some Questions and Answers which may be studied with the Church Catechism in the preparation of candidates for Confirmation or at other times, and may also answer some of your general questions about the Church.
Question: What is the Church?
Answer: The family of God, the body of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Question: What do we say about the Church in the Nicene Creed?
Answer: I believe One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
Question: Why is it called One?
Answer: Because it has one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.
Question: Why is it called Holy?
Answer: Because the Holy Spirit dwells in it, sanctifying all its members and endowing them with gifts of grace.
Question: Why is it called Catholic (Greek for "universal")?
Answer: Because it is universal, and holds for all time, in all countries, and for all people, the whole truth as it is in Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and for ever.
Question: Why is it called Apostolic?
Answer: Because it received its divine mission from Christ through his Apostles, and continues in their doctrine and fellowship.
Question: What is the work of the Church in the world?
Answer: The work of the Church in the world is to offer to God on behalf of all humanity the worship which is his due; to make known to all nations the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and to unite all people to God in one family.
Question: How did our Lord provide for the life and work of the Church?
Answer: Our Lord sent his Holy Spirit upon the Church and upon his Apostles.
Question: What authority did Christ give to his Apostles in the Church?
Answer: He gave them authority to preach the Word, to minister the Sacraments, to rule and care for his household the Church until his coming again.
Question: What Orders of Ministers (Pastors) have been in the Church from the Apostles' time?
Answer: Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.
Question: What is the work of a Bishop in the Church of God?
Answer: To be a chief pastor of the flock, to preach the Gospel, to guard well the Faith, to bless, to confirm, and to ordain, following the example of the blessed Apostles.
Question: What is the work of a Presbyter or Priest?
Answer: To minister to the people committed to his/her care by the Bishop; to lead them in the worship of God and to preach his Word; to baptize; to celebrate the holy Communion; and to pronounce Absolution and Blessing in God's name.
Question: What is the work of a Deacon (Greek for "servant")?
Answer: To assist the Bishop or Priest in the Divine Service, and in other ministrations to the people of God.
Question: What is your work as a lay member of the Church of God?
Answer: To take my part in its worship, labours, and councils, according to the gifts of grace that God has given me, and to pray, work, and give for the spread of his kingdom.
Question: Why ought you to read God's holy Word, the Bible?
Answer: Because it tells how God has made himself known to humanity; and how we may come to know him, and find salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ in the fellowship of his Church.
Question: What does the Church teach about the Bible?
Answer: The Bible records the Word of God as it was given to Israel, and to his Church, at sundry times and in diverse manners; and nothing may be taught in the Church as necessary to man's salvation unless it be concluded or proved therefrom.
Question: Where then is the Word of God to be found in all its fulness?
Answer: In Jesus Christ, his only Son, who was made man for us and for our salvation.
Question: What is the vocation of a Christian in this world?
Answer: To follow Christ and bear witness to him; to fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life.
Every Christian man or woman should from time to time frame for himself a "Rule of Life" in accordance with the precepts of the Gospel and the faith and order of the Church; wherein he/she may consider the following (Book of Common Prayer, p. 555):
- The regularity of one's attendance at public worship and especially at the holy Communion.
- The practice of private prayer, Bible-reading, and self-discipline.
- Bringing the teaching and example of Christ into one's everyday life.
- The boldness of one's spoken witness to our faith in Christ.
- His/her personal service to the Church and the community.
- The offering of money according to one's means for the support of the work of the Church at home and overseas.