There are two ways to approach this important question. The first, official answer is that the Episcopal Church, as a member of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, affirms those statements that make up the Apostles’ and the Nicene Creed. What does this mean? It means we believe in God. We believe that God created us and loves us. We believe that God became human in order to live a mortal life amongst us, and to die amongst us, on the cross. We believe that in dying on the cross and then ascending into heaven, God as Jesus showed us a new vision of what the divine life is, and in turn, gave us a new understanding of human life. We believe that the purpose of human life is to love God and one another, and that God’s plan for us is to unite us to that divine life in a flourishing bond that transcends death and mortal suffering, and that the life of church, for all its setbacks, difficulties, conflicts, and anguish, is the unfolding of that plan.