Who is the Progressive Episcopal Church ?
Ever feel like you are traveling the road of life alone? Maybe you have been rejected by your traditional faith community because you are divorced, have unique beliefs, are living together, or maybe your orientation or gender identity does not fit into a man-made set of rules? Maybe you don't "fit in" in a conservative world due to your progressive thoughts on social justice issues, or because you have tattoos or piercings or dress differently than others.
Everyone is welcomed by The Progressive Episcopal Church. Your background, familial status, race, ethnicity, gender identity, orientation, age, sex, religious identity, or any other personal characteristics make you who you are and that unique mix of traits makes you valuable to us!
Maybe you are just fed up with the church always telling you what's wrong with you instead of what's right with you....you have found your answer...... We at The Progressive Episcopal Church say......WELCOME HOME....... Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a community that proclaims and demonstrates a contemporary expression of the ancient Christian faith based on the principles of Social Justice and Liberation Theology. We proclaim these truths in word and demonstrate them through action in our daily lives by showing Love, Grace, Mercy, and Peace. We rise to defend injustice and inequality, following the examples of Christ, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and others in finding peaceful resolution to inequities.
A PROFESSION OF FAITH
We believe that God is Love and Power and Truth and Light;
that perfect justice is the ultimate law of the universe;
that all people shall reach God's presence, however far they stray.
We recognize the unity of God and the unity of creation.
We serve God best when best we serve others.
So shall God's blessing rest on us and peace for evermore.
The mission of The Progressive Episcopal Church and Our Lady of Perpetual Help is to proclaim and demonstrate the Good News of Love, Grace, Mercy, and Peace. We seek to explore, discover and experience the universal principles found among the great religions of the world in the context of the ancient Christian faith tradition. These universal principles form a truly catholic faith, which is catholic because it is a statement of universal principles.
"The identical thing that we now call the Christian religion existed among the ancients and has not been lacking from the beginnings of the human race until the coming of Christ in the flesh, from which moment on the true religion, which already existed, began to be called Christian." ~St. Augustine of Hippo
The Progressive Episcopal Church and Our Lady of Perpetual Help seeks to maintain continuity with the ancient Christian traditions received from the past, while remaining open and adaptable to the changes new situations and understandings require. This is a progressive faith with an ancient heritage.
THESE SACRAMENTS WE HONOR:
To become a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help you simply have to be in agreement with our principles and be committed to trying your best to live them out in your daily life and interaction with others.
Speak with our Rector (Pastor) and she/he will provide information about acceptance into membership.
We Welcome You!
OUR ECCLESTICAL STRUCTURE
The Progressive Episcopal Church follows the Anglican model of diocesan structure and clergy titles, liturgy, and rubrics.
Following in the example of the Early Church, our North American dioceses are by affinity, rather than by geography.
At this time, there are six affinity dioceses: West, Delta, Northeast, Cumberland, and the Ordinariates for Chaplaincy, and St. John the Evangelist. We have one geographic Diocese in Europe and one geographic Diocese in South Korea.
The North American Dioceses have ministries and parishes present in 19 states and have a clergy and episcopal staff that number greater than 28. We have two religious communities, Shekinah Ruha and Societas Christi. The national office publishes a monthly publication entitled “The New Epistle”.
The Progressive Episcopal Church is recognized by the United States Military and has one Chaplain currently serving.
TPEC is a member Province of The Free Anglican Communion which was established in 1897. The Diocese of the South Progressive Episcopal Church out of which we grew retains their independence as an incorporated entity separate from The Progressive Episcopal Church, but is a full partner in common ministry & purpose.
The Progressive Episcopal Church is built upon an Anglican congregational structure. Each diocese of the Church is autonomous, but is under the governance of the Council of Bishops and the Presiding Bishop. Each Diocese has its own bishop who must answer to the Presiding Bishop. In a similar fashion all clergy and their ministries function autonomously, yet are under the jurisdiction and governance of their diocesan bishop, and the Constitution and Canons of the church.
Most all of our TPEC clergy are "tent-makers." This means nearly all have full-time occupations while also serving as ordained or licensed ministers in their community.
Some of our ministries have church buildings, but some are "churches without walls" serving the local community. A church without walls acknowledges that God is not confined to the walls of a church building, but rather is a living presence in the world of which we are all a part.
We are a millennial church that thinks outside of the box, meeting people where they are.
SOME FACTS ABOUT OUR LOCAL PARISHES
At Our Lady of Perpetual Help, we are a Chartered Parish within the Diocese of the Delta, with the Rt. Rev. +Daniel Varga serving as our Bishop Emeritus and our Rector, Fr. +Rick is the Bishop-Elect of the Diocese.
Our affiliate ministries, for which our Rector, also serves as Rector, are Chartered Parishes or Missions of The Progressive Episcopal Church and the Diocese of the Delta. They include,
The national church is governed by the Council of Bishops under the leadership of the Presiding Bishop. The current Presiding Bishop is the Rt. Rev. +Michael Sherbert.
The Archdeacon assists the Presiding Bishop with the administration and pastoral needs of the church, and assists the Diocesan Bishops as they may request.
The routine daily administrative needs are attended by the General Secretary. The current General Secretary is the Rt. Rev. +Thurlow Weed.
At Our Lady of Perpetual Help our governing structure is based within the people.
Our Rector/Pastor has daily responsibility for operations of our community but major decisions regarding property, finances, and other matters are based in a majority vote by the members in conjunction with our Parish Council.
The Parish Council is made up of five members, who represent the diversity of the parish. The Rector offers tie-breaking votes and has veto on any issue regarding liturgy/worship matters. The Rector may refer any matter to the Parish for a full Parish vote.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Progressive Episcopal Church serves as the mother church for St. Michael the Archangel, St. Mychal Judge, and the Arkansas Social Justice Center.
Our Rector, the Rev. Canon Rick Ward-Harder serves the Diocese as the Canon to the Ordinary (Bishop) and is the Bishop-Elect of the Diocese.
He has been affiliated with the TPEC since its inception and was previously with the Diocese of the South from which we grew.
He worked as Canon to the Presiding Bishop Rt Rev. +Jack Stafford both in the Diocese of the South and then within the TPEC.
Arkansas has had a long standing relation with TPEC, with the late Rt, Rev + Ron Thompson (June 26, 1952 - December 24, 2015) who served as a former Presiding Bishop of The Progressive Episcopal Church.