Episcopal vs Methodist: Difference and Comparison

Christianity is widely popular worldwide, with more than 2 billion followers. This religion holds God sacred: believers channel praises, worship, and prayers to Him.

The two major sects of Christianity include Catholicism and Protestantism. These can be further divided into various denominations.

Episcopal and Methodist are the two major denominations of Catholicism.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion, with roots in the Church of England, while Methodism originated as a movement within the Anglican Church.
  2. Episcopal governance is hierarchical, with bishops overseeing dioceses, whereas the Methodist Church has a more democratic structure, with conferences and elected representatives.
  3. Worship styles differ, with the Episcopal Church following a more formal, liturgical approach and Methodists embracing a more personal and experiential worship style.

Episcopal vs. Methodist

Episcopalians believe in the authority of the Bible and sacraments, and have a hierarchical structure with dioceses. The Methodist Church originated as a movement emphasizes personal conversion, social justice, and the importance of scripture and faith in daily life. It has a decentralized structure, with local congregations.

Episcopal vs Methodist

Episcopal is defined as the relationship between a Christian and the church bishop. It also signifies the affiliations which are related to Anglicanism.

Methodist Church also emerged from the Church of England itself. It now comes under the jurisdiction of World Methodist Councils.

In the Episcopal Church, Communion is central, which means that the sanctuary’s primary focus is the altar, where the communion is kept. In the Methodist Church, the Sermon is the main focal point in the church, the place, pulpit, where the pastor’s stand is raised and is located in the center of the church.

The General Convention of Episcopal comprises two houses, deputies (referred to as the clergy and laity) and bishops, and they meet up every three years. The General Conference is made up of church and lay delegates.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonEpiscopalMethodist
Worship PracticesWorship practices are guided through The Book of Common PrayerWays of worship are recommended by The Book of Worship
CommunionHoly Communion is celebrated with wine.Holy Communion is celebrated with the use of unfermented grape juice
Ministry OrdersMinistry is characterized by four orders: laity, deacons, priests, and bishops.Orders in Ministry are characterized by three orders, laity, deacons, and elders.
Decision MakingGeneral Convention is the highest legislative authority.General Conference is the highest legislative authority
DoctrinesEpiscopal Church follows the Apostles and Nicene creeds.Methodists stopped following the Nicene creeded decades ago.


What is Episcopal?

Episcopal Church is a United States-based member church within a worldwide communion, called the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is a mainline Christian denomination that comprises a division of nine provinces and dioceses.

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Episcopal Churches have priests who cross themselves, such as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Episcopalians are known to be progressive as compared to others.

The Episcopal Churches resemble English Churches in many ways. Eucharist forms the principal act of Sunday worship for the Episcopal Church

 The Episcopal Church was established with the constitution that created a government called the General Convention. Episcopalians hold the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral as the standard for full communion; they only add baptized congregants to Communion.


What is Methodist?

The Methodist Church also sprouted from the Church of England. It resulted from a  movement led by John Weasely that sought to reform the Church of England.

The movement, however, broke apart from its parent body and developed into an autonomous church. All modern Methodist Churches come under the jurisdiction of the World Methodist Council.

This council hosts the churches that follow the Methodist traditions, and these churches comprise over 42 million Methodists across 138 countries. Methodist worship is less formal and primarily governed by assemblies called Synods.

Methodists hold Wesley’s liturgy as the standard for full communion, although they admit unbaptized congregants to Communion.


Main Differences Between Episcopal and Methodist

  1. The Episcopal Church follows the doctrines inherited from the Church of England and the Apostles and Nicene creeds. In contrast, Methodist Churches are only signified by the acceptance of historical Christianity doctrines.
  2. Episcopals follow the Anglican way, where confirmation and baptism precede the Holy Communion, and they still use wine during the Holy Communion. In contrast, Methodists admit unbaptized devotees to Communion and celebrate communion with pure, unfermented grape juice.
  3. Episcopal ministry is governed by four orders: Laity, Deacons, Priests, and Bishops, whereas three orders only govern the Methodist Churches, namely, Laity, Deacons, and Elders.
  4. The Episcopal Churches draw its worship structure from The Book of Common Prayer. The Episcopal Churches follow the principle of Sunday worshipping, whereas Methodists practice the ways of The Book of Worships as their liturgical guide.
  5. Episcopal Churches authorize same-sex marriage, and the rituals have been performed since 2015, whereas the Methodists Book prohibits homosexuality and marriage between same-sex people among the devotees.
  6. The Episcopal’s highest authority is the General Convention; it comprises two houses: deputies (clergy and laity) and bishops, whereas, in the Methodist Church, the highest legislative authority is the General Conference, made up of clergy and lay delegates.
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Difference Between Episcopal and Methodist

  1. http://catalog.gcah.org/DigitalArchives/memoirs/Clark%20Lucien.pdf
  2. https://place.asburyseminary.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=mechconfjournals

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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29 thoughts on “Episcopal vs Methodist: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I didn’t realize there were such distinct differences in the worship practices and structures of the two denominations. Amazing!


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