Welcome to the
Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia!
I’m glad you’ve stepped through our digital doors. As you make your way through our pages online and as you meet Episcopalians in real life, you won’t find a finer quality of Jesus follower than in this place we call “Almost Heaven.” Episcopalians in the Mountain State are wild and wonderful Christians, formed by the rugged and resilient Appalachian terrain we witness and worship in.
As Christians in the Anglican tradition, our worship grounds us, forms us, and unites us with the centuries of Christians who have passed down to us the gifts of Scripture, Tradition, and the application of Reason in our life together. By worshiping with the liturgies found in The Book of Common Prayer we embrace the gifts of our catholic heritage, renewed, and informed by the major reformations of the sixteenth and the twentieth centuries. In Episcopal churches, we offer the Sacraments that fulfill Christ’s promise to be with us, in us, and to be ever present in our lives until the end of time (Matthew 28:19-20). It’s in our worshiping communities that Jesus’ presence is made most palpable and a relationship with him is nourished.
Being grounded in our worship and in our relationship with Christ, and with one another, we find our witness in the present moment, especially to “strive for justice and peace” and to “respect the dignity of every human being.” These are among the vows we make at Baptism and renew at Confirmation (BCP 305). You will often find us standing near the center of the controversies of our day, particularly when there are issues of parity and justice, equity, and human dignity at stake. We offer our witness as Jesus did, for the least, the lost, the misunderstood, and those on the margins who have no one to speak for them.
Because of the way we worship and our witness, Episcopal Christians are often noted for being traditional and orthodox in our liturgy and theology while, at the same time, being progressive and inclusive in our policies and in our social justice ministries. In John’s Gospel, we hear Jesus tell his disciples that the Holy Spirit will reveal more to them after he’s gone away because they couldn’t bear everything he had to say while he was with them (John 16:12-13). The Episcopal Church in West Virginia continues to listen deeply to the ongoing revelation of the Holy Spirit. Together, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to listen and grow. We are growing in worship and witness. And we pray, by God’s grace, we are growing in love.
Worship with us. Witness with us. Journey with us in God’s wilderness, even for a season. You’ll be deepened by sharing in our Anglican worship with a warm Appalachian flavor. And you’ll find your heart full as a faithful witness with meaningful ministry.
Yours in Christ,
+Matthew Cowden, West Virginia
Official Visitation: Bishop Visitations are official visits established by Canons and ancient Christian customs. Bishop Visitations are meant to tend to the life and health of the congregation and to strengthen connections with the wider Church. These visitations are a time for the Bishop to provide support and to hear the needs of the congregation; to talk about the spiritual and temporal health of the congregation and assist in future visioning. When possible, sacramental rites reserved to the Bishop take place, including Confirmation and Reception.