St. Matthews Anglican Church

Riverview, Florida

Frequently Asked Questions

We get questions from time to time that seem to be more frequent than others. Here are some of those questions and our answers.

What is "Anglican"?

Anglican means “Of England”. Many of America’s Founding Fathers were Anglicans. After the Revolution, the Church of England parishes formed the Protestant Episcopal Church USA. Gradually, Anglican churches throughout the world gained local independence but remained a union of churches called the Anglican Communion. For many years these churches were united by a common faith, a common form of church government, and a common worship. The Anglican Province of America, to which we belong, is an independent Anglican province which seeks to be faithful to the traditions and faith of the one Holy Catholic Church.

What do we mean when we call ourselves a "church"?

We are “a” church. There is only one Church which is the company of baptized believers.  Both the living and departed are members of the Church. In the first century AD, the Church came to Britain. The English Church was a national church within the great Western Church. At the time of the Reformation, the English Church separated from that part of the Church we now refer to as the Roman Catholic Church. This separation was achieved in a unique way. The Church of England remained a Catholic (see below) Church. The English Reformers translated into English the old worship books, then edited them into what is known as the Book of Common Prayer (see below). Anglicans are liturgical (see below) Christians.


What is "Episcopal"?

he word episcopal means of bishops. Our Lord Jesus Christ sent His disciples into the world. They were called Apostles, or sent men. The Apostles added ministers to their ranks to care for the growing Church. These men became known as bishops. Our bishops are successors of the Apostles and of the first Episcopal Bishops of the United States.


Why do we call ourselves "Catholic"?

Catholic means the Universal Church established by our Lord Himself, which is always served by clergy who are successors of the Apostles, who administer the Sacraments which our Lord gave to the Church. The faith of the Church is summarized in the Creeds and in the teachings of the Early Church Fathers.


Are we "Evangelical"?

The word evangelical means “of the Gospel”. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is found in the Holy Bible, God’s Word. The Bible is the book of the Church. They are read in public worship. The Prayer Book is Bible-based. Its words echo the teachings, words, and expressions of the Holy Scriptures. In particular, Scripture is the only reliable access to the words and teaching of Jesus Christ and is the only reliable record of the beliefs and teachings of his Apostles about Him. For this reason Anglicans believe that nothing is essential for salvation which cannot be proven from or at least be shown to be firmly grounded in Scripture.


What is "Liturgy"? What is the "Book of Common Prayer"?

Liturgy means service or work. We show our duty to God and our love for Him in corporate worship. The 1928 American edition of the Book of Common Prayer is the official liturgy of this province. It is basically the same form of service used by the first American settlers. Many scholars maintain that this book, together with the King James’ Version of the Bible (an Anglican translation), affected the English language and the spiritual life of the English speaking people of the world more than any other published work.


Why do we call ourselves "Traditional"?

By traditional we mean that we do not allow the current winds of public and societal opinion to alter that Faith which we have received from our forefathers as contained in the Holy Bible, the writings of the Early Church, and the Book of Common Prayer.


What does "Sacramental" mean?

A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, that conveys an inward, spiritual grace through Christ. There are two Sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord (Communion). Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference whereby Christians are discerned from others, but it is also a sign of regeneration or new-birth. Those that receive Baptism are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the children of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God. The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves; but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death; insomuch that to those who rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive communion, the Bread is a partaking of the Body of Christ and the Cup of Blessing is partaking of the Blood of Christ.