This is a question we often hear. The best answer is to simply say we are a group of people trying our best to be faithful to God, following Jesus Christ, praying that we hear and respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit. But of course, we know that lots of people and churches try to do that simple thing and end up looking very different, so some explanation of the details is helpful.
Old Donation Church is part of the Episcopal Church. It was the first Christian church of any kind in what is now Virginia Beach, and founded in 1637. We first met in the parlor of Adam and Sarah Thoroughgood. So we have a long history of worshiping and serving Jesus Christ. As you might expect, we honor history and tradition. But we are not a museum. Rather, we are a very active, alive parish using the best of the past, along with the best of the new, so long as it honors God and advances the work of God’s kingdom.
The Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion, making us the third largest group of Christians in the world, following Roman Catholics. There are over 80 million Anglicans worshiping around the globe. The Episcopal church is often called a “bridge church”. We are similar to the Roman Catholic church in some ways, and our theology includes both catholic and protestant perspectives. The sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion are central to our worship life and we have four orders of ministry: lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons. The authority of Holy Scripture, interpreted through tradition and reason, is the foundation of our understanding of God, creation, and our life, and guides our life as we try to live out our Godly purpose.