About us – Core Values
The core values of Holy Cross Church-Episcopal are based on Jesus’ summary of the laws and the commandments of God as follows:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your strength,
and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
— Luke 10:27
In order that we may know and love God as God is revealed in our Savior Jesus Christ, we embrace the following core values so that we may live more fully into the abundant life that Jesus promised:
- Holy Baptism
Gracious Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (adapted from The Book of Common Prayer)
What is an Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church was first brought to America as the Church of England in the early 1600’s when the British began to colonize the eastern shores. The Church of England began in 1549 with its first Book of Common Prayer, which was in the language of the people, but in reality its history and our history go further back than that. We trace our church all the way back to Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Son of God, who established his Church in approximately 33 A.D.
The Episcopal Church claims an historic Episcopate—that is, our Bishops are ordained by Bishops who were ordained by Bishops in an unbroken line all the way back to the Apostles of Jesus Christ in the first century A.D. church. Our own Bishop, the Right Reverend C. Franklin Brookhart, is the Chief Pastor of the Episcopal Diocese of Montana. Holy Cross Church–Episcopal in Billings is the newest of forty-three churches of which Bishop Brookhart has oversight.
We hold that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the revealed Word of God. We hold that the Nicene Creed is a sufficient statement of the Christian Faith. Our two sacraments are Baptism and the Supper of the Lord (also called Holy Eucharist and Holy Communion). Holy Communion is administered by a priest who uses Christ’s own words of institution to bless bread and wine, which are the elements used by Christ at his last supper with his disciples on the night before he was crucified.
In addition to Holy Communion, each Sunday worship service will include four readings from Holy Scripture, prayers from The Book of Common Prayer, hymn singing and a sermon, all of which are coordinated to form a complete thought on Christianity. Each week we will also recite together the Nicene Creed. All Christians who have been baptized in the three-fold name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are welcome to receive communion. Those who have not been baptized may come forward for a blessing by the priest. If you attend Episcopal worship services regularly, you will gradually get the “big picture” of Christianity as we work our way through the seasons of the church year—Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and the Season After Pentecost.
If the worship style of the Episcopal Church is unfamiliar to you, I invite you to attend the services and let the atmosphere of worship wash over you. You will have access to The Book of Common Prayer, a Hymnal and a service bulletin, and eventually the worship style will become second nature to you. The Episcopal Church welcomes you.
What do we believe?
Episcopalians, together with most Christians around the world and through the centuries, express our faith through two historic creeds, or short statements of faith that are almost two thousand years old. These creeds sum up the Christian faith of billions of people around the world. One of these two creeds is usually recited during each service in an Episcopal Church. As a church, we emphasize the mystery of encountering God in worship. We believe all people are called to be ministers and to serve God, his Church and the community in which they live. To find out more about Episcopal beliefs on certain topics, please visit our page at “Episcopal 101” and learn about the teachings of the church.
Seasons of the Church Year
A walk through the Church Year is a walk with Christians around the world. The seasons give us an intentional way to take a deeper look at what the Scriptures say about God and about his son Jesus Christ. The following information tells of Christian traditions that have built up over the centuries. These traditions are helpful ways of marking time and of focusing church attention on different aspects of the Christian story. The practice of keeping the church year dates back to fifth century Jerusalem. Here are the seasons with a brief word about each:
From the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” Advent is the first season of the church year. It begins four Sundays before Christmas and is set aside as a season to prepare for Christmas, Christ’s first coming, and to remember that he will come again. The color for this season is purple, lavender or blue.
This time period consists of the days from Christmas Day until January 6, often thought of as “the twelve days of Christmas.” It is a time for remembering Jesus’ birth and the good news of the Incarnation—God becoming human. The color for the season is white, often trimmed in gold.
Epiphany Season lasts from January 6 until Ash Wednesday, on which begins the season of Lent. Epiphany means “revealing” or “showing forth.” Think of a light going on over your head, or the experience of an “aha” moment. Epiphany is the season for remembering that Jesus came to be the savior of the whole world. In this season we would sing We Three Kings of Orient Are and other joyous hymns about the revealing of Jesus to the world. The color of the season is green.
This is the season of preparation for Easter, which starts on Ash Wednesday and goes forty weekdays and six Sundays to Easter. Lent is a time for self-examination. Many people take on additional study in Lent, while others deny themselves something as an ongoing reminder of the season. The practice of denial can be helpful, but Lent is a time for reflection, not punishment. The seasonal color is purple or lavender, though unbleached cloth is sometimes used as well.
Holy Week consists of the following:
The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday
Monday in Holy Week
Tuesday in Holy Week
Wednesday in Holy Week (on which is often celebrated a service of Tenebrae, or gathering shadows)
Maundy Thursday (so named because of the Novum Mandatum, or New Commandment given by Jesus when he washed the disciples’ feet. It is recorded in the Gospel according to John 15:12: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”)
Good Friday (the day of our Lord’s Crucifixion and death)
Holy Saturday (the only day of the church year on which there can be no celebration of Holy Eucharist)
The priest wears red on Palm Sunday but by Good Friday the priest will be clad in a simple black cassock.
This is the oldest and greatest time of celebration in the Christian Church. It begins with the Great Vigil of Easter on Easter Eve, followed by The Sunday of the Resurrection, or Easter Day. Easter is the day and also the season for remembering that Jesus was raised from the dead. Easter Season lasts Fifty days from Easter Day to The Day of Pentecost. The color is white, trimmed in gold.
The Season After Pentecost
On the day of Pentecost we celebrate the birth of the Christian Church as recorded in the second chapter of The Acts of the Apostles. Red is the color associated with the Holy Spirit. The priest wears red, and so does everyone else who remembers to do so.
On that day of Pentecost so long ago, one hundred twenty of the original disciples of Jesus Christ experienced the Holy Spirit of God coming upon them, empowering them to go out and tell the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Season After Pentecost lasts until Advent. During this season, which the Roman Catholic Church calls ordinary time, we recount the stories of Jesus’ ministry along with readings from the Old Testament and the letters of the early church. The color for the Season After Pentecost is green, appropriate for the season of growth.
The Apostles’ Creed
I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Nicene Creed
WE BELIEVE in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.