Our Companion Dioceses
Through the Diocese, St. John's is in a three-way Companion Diocese relationship with the Diocese of Brechin in Scotland, and the Diocese of Swaziland. The purpose of these relationships is to expand communication between parishes in the Anglican Communion to better understand ministry in congregations different than our own. The Diocese of Nazara, Sudan and the Diocese of Iowa have recently also become Companion Dioceses.
St. John's is one of the 62 congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa which holds its annual convention once a year for two days. We are linked with the Des Moines Metro Chapter of the Diocese which meets twice a year. Delegates are elected from local parishes for both these gatherings. Our current Bishop, is the Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, ninth Bishop of Iowa.
The Diocese of Iowa is a member of the National Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church is made up of between two and three million worshipers in about 7500 congregations across the United States and related dioceses outside the USA. The National Church holds a General Convention every three years to which Diocese of Iowa delegates are elected to attend.
The Anglican Communion is the world wide community of Anglican/Episcopal Churches. Each Sunday during "Prayers for the People" St. John's prays for Episcopal churches throughout the world in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer. But, what makes us Anglican? What do we have in common with Anglican or Episcopal churches all over the world? The hallmarks of the Episcopal Church (from the National Church Visitor's Center web site) are:
1. We are Protestant, yet Catholic
2. We worship in our first language - whatever that may be
3. We use the Book of Common Prayer (first compiled by Thomas Cranmer in the 16th century and called "common" because we all pray it together around the world during worship)
4. Our worship is based on scripture, tradition and reason
The online resource Anglicans Online offers additional information and news about the Anglican Communion.
Working in partnership with the worldwide Church, ecumenical agencies and local organizations, Episcopal Relief & Development saves lives and strengthens communities around the world.
Their programs work toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015. Many Special Offerings collected throughout the year (for example, the collection St. John's took for earthquake recovery aid to Haiti) was put to work through this agency.