Frequently Asked Questions
What do Episcopalians believe?
That is a hard question to answer, because one of the things Episcopalians believe in is the God-given freedom to, as St. Paul said, “work out your own faith.” Hopefully, the church is there to help and guide you on your faith journey but we are not a church that spoon feeds its faith to its members. We have no long list of “do’s and don’ts.” We don’t pretend to prefabricate morality or regulate behavior. We expect people to choose their own behavior and / but to be accountable for it. We are diverse: liberal, conservative and moderate. Some Episcopalians have a rather literal interpretation of scripture and doctrine while others take a more “liberal” or allegorical approach to the teachings of scripture. The fact is we celebrate our differences and believe we can actually learn about God from listening to each other. Our basic beliefs are those of Mainline Christianity as proclaimed in the Nicene Creed, though even here interpretations of this statement of faith differ among members. We believe that our differences are all gifts from God and make our shared life in Christ complete. If you are different or think your beliefs or questions about the faith exclude you from church membership, we may actually be the church for you! We’ll listen without condemning and we’ll answer the questions we can with respect for your views, as we seek together the full Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Is this a Catholic church?
Yes. No. Kind of. When the Anglican Church split away from the Roman Catholic Church, the departure differed from other Protestant / Reformation traditions in that we took bishops with us, thereby maintaining the unbroken line of Apostolic Succession (an unbroken line of ordination dating back to the first Apostles). We also kept and recognized the three orders of ordained ministry (Bishops, priests and deacons), the seven Catholic Sacraments, the historic Creeds and other church customs and beliefs as expressions of our faith. Of course, we differ with the Roman Church on several points of theology, polity and practice. While we cherish our Catholic roots, we also claim a strong Reformation heritage with our Protestant brothers and sisters. We are sometimes looked at as a “bridge church” between Protestantism and Catholicism. We are Catholic, just not Roman Catholic. We are a reformed Church, just not Protestant in any anti-Catholic way.
Can I receive Communion?
The Episcopal Church practices an “open communion.” This means we realize, when we celebrate Holy Eucharist or Holy Communion, it is God’s meal we are serving and God’s table we are serving from, not the Episcopalians’. Therefore, any baptized Christian is welcome to receive communion in any Episcopal Church.
How does one take Communion?
As for how to receive communion at Grace Cathedral, we usually have three communion stations: one at the altar or communion rail and two on the floor of the nave (the area where the pews are and before the steps to the altar / communion rail area). You can go to any station, but persons that don’t walk well or can’t do steps without difficulty will find the floor stations a more attractive option. You can stand or kneel to receive communion. To receive, place one of your hands in the other and hold them open in front of you. The priest will place a wafer in your hand, which you can consume or you can leave it there until the wine server comes to you. If the wafer is still in your hand, he or she will take the wafer, dip it in the wine and place it on your tongue. If you have consumed the bread (wafer), then when the wine server comes to you, guide the cup to your lips and take a sip of wine. If you are not familiar with receiving communion, the best rule is to follow the lead of the person ahead of you.
How do I go about getting baptized or having my child baptized at the Cathedral?
Since we understand baptism to be initiation into the community of faith, we only do public baptisms for those in regular attendance at Grace Cathedral. Exceptions are made for immediate family members of Cathedral members if extenuating circumstances exist. Private baptisms are conducted at the Cathedral only when circumstances dictate. The dean determines when exceptions or special circumstances apply.
I’m not a member, but can I get married at the Cathedral?
Yes. The Cathedral will conduct nonmember weddings. Obviously, nonmembers pay more for their weddings than Cathedral members who give financial support to the church year round. In fact, there are three levels of expense: active members, non-active members and nonmembers. All weddings at the Cathedral are according to the Book of Common Prayer and conducted by the church staff. For more information about weddings at the Cathedral, click on the “Weddings” tab at the bottom of this website.
What makes a Cathedral different from any other Episcopal church?
Designated a Cathedral in 1879, the cathedra (bishop’s chair) is located in our sanctuary, and we are the Church of the Bishop of the Diocese of Kansas. While we cannot say that the Cathedral is better or qualitatively different from any other Episcopal Church, we can say that we are a unique group of folks. As a downtown church in a capitol city we are certainly not as homogenous as many suburban, rural or small town churches. Our congregation is a varied community of rich and poor, young and old, multi-cultural and multi-racial. We strive for excellence in our worship as an offering to God. The music, the preaching and the liturgy are gifts for and from God’s people, in thanksgiving and praise to God. We celebrate our community through fellowship as well. We enjoy being together for social events and meals as well as for worship. We have an outstanding children’s education program, and great music programs for children, youth and adults. The Cathedral is an Episcopal Church Jubilee Center, an award given for outstanding outreach ministry. We currently have over 140 of our members involved in some outreach ministry of the church. Finally, the beautiful Gothic architecture of the Cathedral creates an incredible atmosphere for prayer and worship. The church walls are permeated with over a century of prayer, incense and music. Likewise, the superb acoustics make the cathedral a favorite venue for events other than worship: concerts, plays, Silents in the Cathedral (an annual silent film festival) and other special offerings. Join us! Come and see what makes us a different kind of community!
How do I become a member of Grace Cathedral?
Persons who are not already baptized, after attending the Cathedral regularly for a while, will request the sacrament of baptism as initiation into the community of faith. Those who are already baptized, attend worship regularly at Grace and provide financial support for the work and ministry of God’s Church through Grace Cathedral are considered members of this church. To become a confirmed member of GC, one attends classes on the history, faith and polity of the Church and receives the laying on of hands by the bishop. (Persons already confirmed by a bishop in another church are received into the Episcopal Church.) For more information about becoming a member of Grace Cathedral, contact Dean Lipscomb at the church office.
I don’t manage steps. Is there an easy way to get into the Cathedral?
There are handicap accessible entries on the east and west sides of the Cathedral. We also have reserved parking in our west side parking lot and in the drive off Polk Street (east side). The advantage to parking in the east side drive is that there is a door right at the drive and that door leads directly into the Cathedral and the Chapel worship spaces. Ergo, less walking distances! Automatic door activation buttons are located inside and outside this entrance.
Is the Cathedral open for tours or prayers during the week?
Grace Cathedral is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (We actually close at 5, so you’ll need to be here by 4 to in order to have enough time.) If you are coming for a tour, it is best to call ahead. We have many services and rehearsals that aren’t on our regular schedule. You’ll want to make sure the space is available. We do have self-guided tour books but a staff member will be happy to walk with you and point out and explain particular items of interest. In either case, we do ask that you check in with the office when you arrive. The same goes for prayers. You are welcome to come by and pray any time, but please do check in to let us know you are here.