Preface to the Constitution of the UECNA
The United Episcopal Church of North America, which is a branch of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, united by Faith to Him who is the divine head over all things to the Church, which is His body, and recognizing the essential unity of all who accept this faith, and standing in succession to the Church of England, and its descendants, the Protestant Episcopal Church, USA, and the Anglican Church of Canada, declares:
I. That the United Episcopal Church of North America, holding the faith once delivered to the saints, accepts and unfeignedly believes all the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (1), to be the inspired Word of God, and to be the ultimate rule of Faith and Practice in the Church.
This Church accepts the Apostles’ Creed as the baptismal symbol, and the Nicene Creed (2) as sufficient statement of the Christian Faith. Furthermore, it accepts the witness of the ancient Fathers, and undisputed Councils of the Early Church to this Faith, and shall endeavour, by the Grace of God, to pass the same to succeeding generations.
This Church maintains that he sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are of Divine institution, and will continue to administer the same with unfailing use of Christ’s Words of Institution, and with the elements instituted by Christ Himself.
This Church will maintain inviolate the three orders of Bishop, Priest (presbyter), and Deacon, which are, by Scripture, confined to qualified males.
This Church hereby maintains its constant witness against all those innovations in doctrine and worship, whereby the primitive faith has been overlaid, and which at the Reformation the Church of England did disown and reject.
II. The United Episcopal Church of North America receives and approves “The Book of Common Prayer, and the Administration of the Sacraments, etc.” approved by the Convocation held in the year 1662, as subsequently amended for use in the United States and the Dominion of Canada (3). This Church will continue to use the same, subject to such amendment as shall be made by lawful authority of this Church. Furthermore, it receives and approves the Articles of Religion approved by the Convocation held in London in 1562, as amended by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America held in 1801, as a witness to the historic teaching of the Anglican Communion.
III. The United Episcopal Church of North America will maintain Communion with all Churches agreeing to the principles of this Declaration, and will set forth, as far as in it lies, quietness, peace, and love among all Christian people.
IV. The United Episcopal Church of North America, deriving its authority from Christ, Who is the head of all things to the Church, declares that a General Convention or Synod, consisting of the bishops, and representatives of the clergy and laity, shall act as the chief legislative power therein, and shall exercise such administrative power as may be necessary for the Church, and consistent with its Episcopal Constitution. Such General Convention or Synod shall have no competency to alter doctrine.
Approved by the Twelfth General Convention of the United Episcopal Church of North America held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Notes:(1) See Article VI of the Articles of Religion for the status of the Deutero-Canonical Books.