FAQs about Saint Augustine's Chapel and The Episcopal Church

FAQs about Saint Augustine's Chapel and The Episcopal Church

How did the Saint Augustine’s Chapel begin?
A worshiping congregation was formed at Saint Augustine’s Normal School on February 11, 1868.The congregants met on the school’s campus until a building was erected on Dawson and Lane streets in Raleigh, NC.The North Carolina Legislature granted the land at this location for the building of a worship space. Ten members from Christ Church, Raleigh transferred to the new church.Other members included students and faculty who attended the new worship community.

Washington Hayes and the Reverend Henry B. Delany, later Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of NC, began construction on the current chapel on the property of Saint Augustine’s Normal School.The Rev. Delany was the quarry master and masonry instructor at that time.Under his direction, the students quarried the stones for construction, and laid the cornerstone in 1895. The construction was completed in December 1895.A year later, the church located in downtown Raleigh was renamed the Church of Saint Ambrose upon recommendation by Bishop Cheshire and permission of the Diocesan Convention.Finally on October 11, 1897, the chapel was consecrated “The Saint Augustine’s Chapel” by the Rt. Rev. Joseph Blount Cheshire, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.

When did the Episcopal Church Begin?
The Episcopal Church is a province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.When England established colonies in America, Anglican worship was established in the British colonies.Following the Revolutionary War, and the establishment of the United States of America, “three clergy and twenty-four lay delegates met at Chesterton Maryland on November 9, 1780 and resolved that ‘the Church formerly known in the Province as the Church of England should now be called the Protestant Episcopal Church.’ The word ‘Protestant noted that this was a church in the reformation tradition, and the world ‘Episcopal’ noted a characteristic of catholicity,” namely being under the pastoral leadership of bishops.

What makes us Anglican?
The Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion. The word communion means having fellowship, affection, and togetherness with another. We share in relationship with other provinces of the Anglican Church from around the world. There are several attributes which we share with Christians in the Anglican Church that mark us as Anglican.

  1. We are Protestant, yet Catholic:As an Anglican church The Episcopal Church “stand squarely in the Reformed tradition, yet considers itself just as directly descended from the Early Church as the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches.”
  2. Like all Anglican Churches, the Episcopal Church believes that Christians should be able to worship God and read the Bible in their first language.
  3. The Episcopal Church uses the Book of Common Prayer for Worship.This book is a “collection of worship services that all worshipers in an Anglican church follow.It is 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.”
  4. Faith informed by Scripture, Tradition, and Reason:The Anglican tradition acknowledges that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God and “completely sufficient to our reconciliation to God, and must always speak to us in our own time and place.”As Anglicans we look to two thousand years of tradition which can inform our understanding of scripture. These traditions of the Church connect us with all generations of believers as we seek to interpret scripture. We are also created by God with intelligence and particular experiences which form our God given reason. We use this reason along with the traditions of the church to discern how scripture relates to our own lives....

Why does Saint Augustine’s University have Saint Augustine’s Chapel as a place of worship for students?
Saint Augustine’s University is an institution of importance for The Episcopal Church, and is committed to the spiritual growth and formation of students.The chapel serves as a place of worship on Sunday mornings, and the chapel office coordinates campus religious life.Additionally, Saint Augustine’s University is affiliated with two associations which connect the university to The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.These organizations are the Association of Episcopal Colleges (AEC), and Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC). Click here for more information on CUAC.

What do I need to do to be a baptized Christian?
We welcome individuals who seek baptism.As a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ, baptism initiates individuals into Christ’s Body by water and the Holy Spirit. Baptism occurs during a service of Holy Eucharist at various times of the year. The Episcopal Church baptizes people of all ages, and at Saint Augustine’s Chapel we have provisions for baptism by immersion or by pouring water upon the candidate. If you desire to be baptized, contact the university chaplain, The Reverend Nita C. Johnson Byrdat 919-516-4206 or by email through this website to attend a baptism information and preparation session.

Who in The Episcopal Church has spiritual formation resources for individuals?
There are numerous resources for spiritual formation.Students at Saint Augustine’s University should investigate the religious life programs in the following ways. There are excellent online resources by the Society of Saint John the Evangelist. You can sign up to receive a daily reflection by email, read sermons, and learn about prayer. You may also view the Daily Office at Forward Movement’s online service, or The Chapel . These are simply a few of the online resources for spiritual formation.Please consult the university chaplain, The Reverend Nita C. Johnson Byrd for more information.

How can I learn about the history of African Americans in the Episcopal Church?
Visit the Episcopal Church website entitled “The Church Awakens: African Americans and the Struggle for Justice.”Visit this website to hear interviews with theologians such as Dr. James Cone and the first African American woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest the Rev. Pauli Murray on topics of race and Christianity.