“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
Here’s how our Book of Common Prayer, summarizing biblical teaching and the Church’s ancient practice, explains what baptism is and what it means (pp. 858-59):
Q. What is Holy Baptism?
A. Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ's Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God.
Q. What is the outward and visible sign in Baptism?
A. The outward and visible sign in Baptism is water, in which the person is baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Q. What is the inward and spiritual grace in Baptism?
A. The inward and spiritual grace in Baptism is union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God's family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit.
Q. What is required of us at Baptism?
A. It is required that we renounce Satan, repent of our sins, and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Q. Why then are infants baptized?
A. Infants are baptized so that they can share citizenship in the Covenant, membership in Christ, and redemption by God.
Q. How are the promises for infants made and carried out?
A. Promises are made for them by their parents and sponsors, who guarantee that the infants will be brought up within the Church, to know Christ and be able to follow him.
“Confirmation is the rite in which we express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop” (BCP, p. 860). As baptism is the beginning of life in Christ, confirmation is the strengthening of that bond. It is a chance not only to reaffirm the promises made at baptism (often on our behalf), but also to be reinvigorated by the Holy Spirit to live in Christ. Attendance at Confirmation Class is required for the reception of the rite. Children as young as 6th grade are eligible, as well as adults.
The Episcopal Church recognizes the confirmation of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox communions. Those who have received confirmation from those sources are still eligible to have their confirmation recognized by the Episcopal Church, which will give them full membership in our communion.
“Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)
In marriage, the husband and wife make their vows, enter into life-long union, and receive the blessing of God through the Church. The address of the officiant in the marriage rite in the Book of Common Prayer sums up Christian teaching on marriage well.
“The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.
“The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.” (BCP, p. 423)
If you are interested in having your marriage blessed by the Church, please see the Vicar for more information.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). The death of a loved one is never easy and can often be overwhelming. In such times, we hold to Jesus’ promise of hope. When Jesus died, he defeated death, and, when he rose again, he made eternal life possible for all who trust in him. It is in that resurrection hope that we commend our departed loved ones to God. We encourage everyone to work with the Vicar to make pre-burial plans in order to relieve their loved ones and make their wishes clear. We are open to burying those outside of our membership, since to bury the dead is considered a work of mercy.