We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

The Creeds Class, Part 1, Feb. 21, 2024

We had 8 people online for the first class, Feb 21, 2024.

Weekly Sessions

1. Why we have the creeds and the origin?
2. Creed about God – “I believe in God, the Father almighty”.
3. Creed about Jesus.
4. Creed about the Holy Spirit.
5. Creed about baptism, resurrection.

Creeds are ultimately for the unity of the Church containing the beliefs that are central to the faith. They hold us together. They are used to teach new members.

Handout of the Creeds discussed

The Church at Rome  Three Part Creed 200CE

Do you believe in God the Father almighty? 

Do you believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God, who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died, and rose the third day living from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, and will come to judge the living and the dead? 

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, and the holy church, and the resurrection of the flesh? 

The Apostles’ Creed  (340CE, fullest form in place by 700 CE)  

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.

(Words in red added between the fourth and sixth centuries) 

Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed (325CE  Council of Nicea, expanded in 381, by 1014 it was a regular part of the Roman mass)

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.

The word “creed” meaning “I believe” is Latin based on the word, “Credo”. There is another meaning indicating trust.  We trust these ideas which hold us together. Ultimately, they are built around belief in God. In Latin “credo” indicates trust to pay debts.

The basis of the Creeds is found in the Book of Common Prayer, Page 851 under Catechism.

The Creeds

See pages 5396326, 327, and 864.

The Creeds

See pages 53, 96, 326, 327, and 864.

What are the creeds?
The creeds are statements of our basic beliefs about God.
How many creeds does this Church use in its worship?
This Church uses two creeds: The Apostles’ Creed and the
Nicene Creed.

Q. What is the Apostles’ Creed?
A. The Apostles’ Creed is the ancient creed of Baptism; it is
used in the Church’s daily worship to recall our
Baptismal Covenant.

Q. What is the Nicene Creed?
A. The Nicene Creed is the creed of the universal Church
and is used at the Eucharist.

Q. What, then, is the Athanasian Creed?
A. The Athanasian Creed is an ancient document
proclaiming the nature of the Incarnation and of God
as Trinity.

Q. What is the Trinity?
A. The Trinity is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Morning Prayer service uses the Apostle Creed as well as the Baptism service. The Baptism vows which are quoted directly from the Apostles Creed.

The Apostles Creed is said around the world – universal drawing as the Body of Christ. It was adopted before the middle of the second century.

The Nicene Creed is used in the Eucharist service. It was created by the Council of Nicea in 325BCE.

The Creeds were used to combat heresies in the early church:

  1. Arianism – Christ was not divine. He was created and had a beginning
  2. Gnosticism – Creation is evil. The world is a product of error and ignorance. They say that the world was made by an imperfect spirit. The real God who is good, is distant and not easy to know. In order to get free from the material world, a person has to get “gnosis”. That is the special secret knowledge given only to a few special people. Nicene was aimed at this that God was the creator

The Nicene Creed’s aftermath with the addition of the Filique clause contributed to the split between the Western and Eastern Church in 1054. (The Western Church, the Catholic church, is centered in Rome and the Eastern Church, the Orthodox Church in Constantinople, today Istanbul.)

The Filioque clause adds the words ‘and the Son’ to the Creed: ‘We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.  The Eastern church does not believe this. It is not in the original text of the Creed, attributed to the First Council of Constantinople (381), which says that the Holy Spirit proceeds “from the Father”. This was added in the 6th century and helped to cause the split. 

We see the creeds after the sermon which can be a check on the ideas of the sermon if they contradict basic beliefs. They also can be seen as a song of praise.

Creed provided continuity year after year that we are connected to something bigger.  They are a democratic document to bring together people of many cultures and languages. They connect us back to the 2nd century church.

They aren’t perfect. Other creeds have been added from time to time to address the life of Christ.

They also can be handled differently. In Rite 2, the Eucharist we use the Nicene Creed.  “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God”. In Rite 1, there is an alternate verse – “I believe in one God,   the Father Almighty,  maker of heaven and earth,  and of all things visible and invisible.