The Episcopal Church

Made up of between two and three million worshipers in about 7500 congregations, the Episcopal Church strives to live by the message of Christ, in which there are no outcasts and all are welcome. Walking a middle way between Roman Catholicism and Protestant traditions, we are a sacramental and worship-oriented church that promotes thoughtful debate about what God is calling us to do and be, as followers of Christ.

The Episcopal Church is a big, colorful, vibrant church.

In our Church you may touch ancient traditions and experience intelligent inquiry. It is an expansive Church, a loving Church, with strong ties to our roots as a nation. We are a thoughtful, inquiring, freedom-loving and welcoming body, and we thrive not only in the U.S., but also throughout Latin America, Asia and Europe.

Our controversies and conversations have been public. Our governance is transparent. You are free to see our imperfections, as well as share our joy in that which unites us – our openness, honesty and faith.

The Episcopal Church – National Links

The “Who Are We” video on this page is part of “Around One Table: Exploring Episcopal Identity.” This massive research project is an ongoping expolration of the perspectives of Episcopalians nationwide. It’s a fascinating look at where we are today as a church, and you can learn more about “Around One Table” here:

Around One Table: Exploring Episcopal Identity

You can find out more about the Episcopal Church in general at these sites:

The Episcopal Church – the national church’s homepage

Diocese of Virginia

The basic unit in the Episcopal Church is the diocese. A diocese is a geographical area under the oversight of a bishop. The Diocese of Virginia consists of the northern portion of the state – roughly from the James River in Richmond across through Charlottesville and Harrisonburg, and points northward. The Diocese of Virginia is served by our bishops, The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff, Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority and The Rt. Rev. Robert Wilkes Ihloff, Bishop Associate. There are approximately 180 parish churches and missions in the diocese.

The Episcopal Church - Clarke Parish - Diocese of Virginia Regional Map

Being a part of a diocese is central to our understanding of being Episcopalian – being a part of a larger church and not just an isolated congregation. At some point, every Episcopalian is expected to profess his or her faith in the presence of a bishop – bishops being the cornerstones of our unity. Bishops also have oversight over the congregations and the clergy. Bishops are pastors to the clergy; hence, much of our energy and money supports the bishop in respect to adequate compensation, clerical support, offices, equipment, etc. The diocese also maintains missions (congregations which are not self-supporting) and establishes new congregations in areas where the population is growing and no Episcopal church exists. We are one of the few dioceses in the Episcopal Church that is actually growing in number of churches and parishioners. 

We have a number of new congregations which are not yet financially self-supporting, several which meet in rented space and do not as yet even have land or buildings, and some older congregations serving small communities that can exist only through our financial assistance. This includes the congregations serving Korean, Hispanic, and Vietnamese communities. Dioceses also enable us to do things together that no individual parish could take on alone. We unite our resources to support a great number of other facilities – schools, retreats, conference centers, prison and college chaplainries, and the like. The Diocese has six parochial schools (Christ Church, St. Catherine’s, St. Christopher’s, St. Margaret’s, St. Stephens & St. Agnes, and Stuart Hall) and two retreat centers (Roslyn and Shrine Mont).

Specific priorities in the Diocese of Virginia include youth ministries through programs at Shrine Mont and on college campuses, building new churches to meet the needs of growing populations, maintaining strong bishops to support the work of local clergy and congregations, and supporting missions and churches overseas through various companion relationships. We also support several prison ministries.

The business of the diocese is conducted by several bodies. The diocese has an Annual Council, similar to our Annual Meeting. The Annual Council elects various committees to run specific aspects of the diocese and elects delegates to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Council also adopts the budget for the diocese, and generally debates a number of resolutions relating to diocesan life. Our delegates of the Annual Council: elected by St. Mary’s Vestry, Ms. Edwina Mason and Ms. Maurita Powell; elected by Grace Church, Dr. Colin Greene and Ms. Carolyn Gordon.

The Episcopal Church - Clarke Parish - Diocese of Virginia Seal

The Diocese of Virginia is one of the largest in the country, in number of churches, number of communicants, and in number of clergy. It is a very diverse diocese with metropolitan, cosmopolitan, suburban and rural parishes. We are also very diverse in theological stance (conservative, fundamentalist, evangelical, liberal, etc.) This has caused some tension in the diocese, particularly this year following some controversial decisions in the Episcopal Church at General Convention. Our greatest strength is not in our unilateral thinking on issues, but rather in our love and respect for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. This has led to some degree of tension among various members of the diocese as some very different views are held regarding several issues facing the Church.

Welcome to the Winchester Region

We are a part of the congregations and other ministries of The Episcopal Church in and near The Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. The Shenandoah Valley stretches 200 miles across the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains. The Winchester Region is a part of The Diocese of Virginia.

The Diocese has 16 regions, determined by geography. Each region has a Regional Council, composed of members elected by the churches in each region. Each region has an elected President, who is a lay person, and an appointed Dean, who is a clergy person. To see the list of churches in each region, go to the Regional Ministry Resource Center.This site also provides handy tools for regional ministry.

  • Alexandria Region
  • Arlington Region
  • Central Richmond Region
  • Charlottesville Region
  • Culpeper Region
  • Fredericksburg Region
  • North Fairfax Region
  • North Richmond Region
  • Northern Neck Region
  • Northern Piedmont Region (previously Leesburg Region)
  • Potomac Region
  • South Fairfax Region
  • Southern Shenandoah Valley Region (previously Harrisonburg Region)
  • Upper Tidewater Region (previously Middle Peninsula Region)
  • West Richmond Region
  • Winchester Region