About Episcopalians
Newcomers' Events
Becoming a Member

About Episcopalians

We Are Episcopal & Anglican
St. John's By The Sea Episcopal Church  is a mission  of the Diocese of Hawaiʻi which is one diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United States  and is a part of the world wide Anglican Communion.  

Our church is "Episcopal" and we are "Episcopalians." "Episcopos," comes from the New Testament Greek, meaning "overseer."  Often it is simply translated, "bishop." The Episcopal Church is made up of between two and three million worshipers in about 7500 congregations across the United States and related dioceses outside the US. The Episcopal Church, having its roots in the Church of England, is also an Anglican Church. Like all Anglican churches, the Episcopal Church is distinguished by the following characteristics:
Protestant, yet Catholic

Anglicanism stands squarely in the Reformed tradition, yet considers itself just as directly descended from the Early Church as the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches. Episcopalians celebrate the “Mass” in ways similar to the Roman Catholic tradition, yet do not recognize a single authority, such as the Pope of Rome.

The Book of Common Prayer
Unique to Anglicanism, though, is the Book of Common Prayer, the collection of worship services that all worshipers in an Anglican church follow. It’s called “common prayer” because we all pray it together, around the world. The first Book of Common Prayer was compiled in English by Thomas Cranmer in the 16th Century, and since then has undergone many revisions for different times and places. But its original purpose has remained the same: To provide in one place the core of the instructions and rites for Anglican Christians to worship together.

The present prayer book in the Episcopal Church was published in 1979. Many other worship resources and prayers exist to enrich our worship, but the Book of Common Prayer is the authority that governs our worship. The prayer book explains Christianity, describes the main beliefs of the Church, outlines the requirements for the sacraments, and in general serves as the main guidelines of the Episcopal life.

Scripture, Tradition, and Reason
The Anglican approach to reading and interpreting the Bible was first articulated by Richard Hooker, also in the 16th Century. While Christians universally acknowledge the Bible (or the Holy Scriptures) as the Word of God and completely sufficient to our reconciliation to God, what the Bible says must always speak to us in our own time and place.

The Church, as a worshiping body of faithful people, has for two thousand years amassed experience of God and of loving Jesus. The traditions of the Church in interpreting Scripture connect all generations of believers together and give us a starting point for our own understanding.

Episcopalians believe that every Christian must build an understanding and relationship with God’s Word in the Bible, and to do that, God has given us intelligence and our own experience, which we refer to as “Reason.” Based on the text of the Bible itself, and what Christians have taught us about it through the ages, we then must sort out our own understanding of it as it relates to our own lives.

We Are Organized
The Anglican Communion comprises some forty autonomous churches throughout the world, and the Episcopal Church is one of these. We don't refer to the "national church," however, as the Episcopal Church has dioceses in numerous countries besides the United States, including Haiti, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Central Ecuador, Litoral Ecuador, Honduras,  Venezuela, Taiwan, and Europe. 

Each Diocese has a Bishop (and sometimes one or more assisting bishops), and a number of congregations, called either a parish (if self-sustaining) or mission (if subsidized). Each parish is governed by a Vestry, a team of lay persons led by the Rector. A Rector is the chief (and often only) priest of a parish. A Vicar is the priest of a mission congregation, as technically the Bishop is the Rector of such congregations. 

Newcomers' Events

We offer the newcomer opportunities to connect with other newcomers and longer-term members through our coffee hour on a regular Sunday in Hoʻokano Hall after the 9:30 am service. 
We also have more intentional newcomer welcome events from time to time. Participants introduce themselves and share questions, observations and hopes about St. John's. They receive packets of information and invitation to participate in any of the organizations or activities we have. Space is also given to those who want simply to be quietly part of the worship on Sunday. These gatherings also are scheduled and announced in advance.

Becoming a Member

What Does Membership Mean?
Membership in the Episcopal Church does not carry with it the onerous formal expectations of other denominations. By canon (church law), a "member" is someone who attends services and contributes financially on a regular basis. 

This seemingly vague approach to membership actually reflects a wider conviction of the Episcopal Church, that of individual readiness and commitment. We each have differing levels of understanding of our relationship with God and with the community in which we worship. We respond to the call to service and fellowship at different rates and depths. In our tradition, the individual seeker decides for himself or herself what membership means, how it will be lived out, and when it is achieved. You have not only the freedom to do this but also the responsibility. 
Having said that, there are some ways in which we provide guideposts and suggestions. At St. John's we welcome people from many backgrounds of faith and experience. People are drawn to us for our traditional forms of liturgy, for our progressive social stance, and through identification and a deepening relationship with the community of believers already here.

When people first arrive they are greeted by members and ushered to a pew and given a service booklet to enable them to join in the worship. Communion is offered to all baptized Christians, as part of our commitment to radical hospitality. We ask visitors to sign the notebook in the vestibule. The information is gathered and the newcomers committee will send greetings to visitors and forward information to the clergy as needed. First-time visitors are encouraged to speak with the vicar or any senior member about this mission church and the community. 

Membership Takes Many Forms
What is membership? First it is a conviction of the heart and a commitment to a community of people. It provides a sense of home and belonging. It's a way of establishing roots and encouraging growth in faith and fellowship. There is an interdependence and accountability for what we say we want and will do for ourselves and the community we hold onto. Members of St. John's are expected to attend the services and participate in the activities, supporting events and participating in the leadership of our common life. Members are expected to take seriously their pledge of time, talent, and treasure to the work and mission of St. John's. Our growth in faith requires action as well as words. That takes several forms, including offering professional skills, financial pledges, and stretching to find interests and skills perhaps dormant as undiscovered gifts of God within each of us.

St. John's offers members mutual care (sometimes called "pastoral care"), a good worship experience, supportive community and a place to meet, and the opportunity for a deeper relationship with God. This certainly isn't the only place God is, but it's one of them – a place to bear witness to God's love and to experience that love in communion with others. We welcome all to find a spiritual home with us, and to explore what membership is and what it calls forth.

Learning More about the St. John's Community
We offer the newcomer opportunities to connect with other newcomers and longer-term members through our coffee hour on a regular Sunday and occasional wine and cheese gatherings.

Membership Classes and Services
A more traditionally formal ceremony to join the Episcopal Church occurs at a service of Confirmation and Reception held at various regions throughout the State of Hawaiʻi, including the historic Cathedral of St. Andrew’s in Honolulu. This is for people who want to embrace membership sacramentally in the historic laying on of hands by the Bishop. Confirmation, whether for youth or adults, is a sacrament of initiation in which we confirm the vows made for us at Baptism by our Godparents. People who have been Confirmed in another denomination are received into the Episcopal Church in a way that recognizes and values the original confirmation but welcomes the person into this branch of the Christian faith.
At St. John's, we occasionally incorporate a brief service of welcome for new members during our Sunday worship. After persons, in consultation with a clergy member, have decided that they feel called and ready to be a member of St. John's, they will be invited to participate in this ceremony of welcome.

Welcome sign

Holy Eucharist
Sundays 9:30 AM

St. John's By-the-Sea
   Episcopal Church

47-074 Lihikai Drive Kāne'ohe, HI 96744 (808) 239-7198

Hawaiian values