In the Episcopal Church we take part in certain regular acts of worship. These are called sacraments or reenactments of Christ's ministries on earth. The two primary sacraments are baptism and holy communion.
We believe that God is actively present in the world and in us. In the sacraments we realize his presence and his favor towards us. Through the sacraments, which are freely given to us by God, our sins are forgiven, our minds are enlightened, our hearts stirred and our wills strengthened.
These sacraments are contained in the worship services found in the Book of Common Prayer and a description of each is found in the Catechism, an outline of the Episcopal faith can be found on pages 845-862 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Baptism is the means by which we become members of the community of believers, defined in the New Testament as the Body of Christ. Just as Jesus was baptized with water by John the Baptist, we include people in the community of faith by baptizing them with water.
But the Baptism of John was simply a Baptism as a sign or symbol of repentance for sins. The Trinitarian Baptism that we receive in the Church is a Baptism of Water and Spirit described by Jesus in Holy Scripture. Not only are sins washed away through this Sacrament, we are also adopted as sons and daughters of God, adopted brothers and sisters of Jesus the Christ.
Following a series of questions, responses and prayers, the priest pours water on the candidate. The sign of the cross is made on their forehead with blessed oil. In the Christian Church, a person is baptized only once.
At Saint John's Church the Sacrament of Holy Baptism is offered within the context of Sunday Masses 3 or 4 times each year and always as a part of the Great Vigil of Easter. In special circumstances the Sacrament of Holy Baptism may also be offered on Saturdays or other days. If you would like to apply for baptism for yourself or your child at Saint John's Church contact the Parish Office or click here to download an application. Complete it and return it to the Parish Office. The Rector will call you for further information.
The sacrament of confirmation completes the sacrament of baptism. If baptism is the sacrament of re-birth to a new and supernatural life, confirmation is the sacrament of maturity and coming of age.
Confirmation is administered by laying-on of hands and anointing with chrism accompanied by prayer. The chrism is blessed by the bishop and the bishop administers the sacrament.
All baptized persons can and should be confirmed. The effect of the sacrament of confirmation is to give strength in faith and for the confession of faith and to impress an indelible character.
The central act of worship in the Episcopal Church is the service of Holy Communion, often called Holy Eucharist, the Mass, or sometimes the Lord's Supper. The baptized People of God join with an ordained Priest at the Altar of God to remember and to worship. Bread and wine are the outward and visible signs of this Sacrament which, through the Grace of God become the Body and Blood of Christ.
The exchange of vows and rings are the outward and visible signs of this Sacrament. The Grace of God's blessing upon the union of two people received through an ordained Priest. Guidelines for Holy Matrimony at St. John's may be obtained from the Parish Office. Pre-marital counseling is required for all weddings conducted at St. John's Church. Application for all weddings must be made to and approved by the Rector.
The ordination of Bishops, Priests and Deacons provides leadership and guidance for the Church through the ages. The clergy of the Episcopal Church are required to have a minimum of a basic college degree, a Master of Divinity Degree from a recognized Seminary and a passing score on a nationwide General Ordination Examination before they may be ordained. Within the past few years Saint John's has sponsored three persons for ordination, two of which are now serving the Church as priests and one is currently in Seminary. Anyone interested in seeking Holy Orders should speak with the Rector.
Self examination, repentance and confession are a part of every Christian's life. Confession is usually offered quietly within one's daily prayers. It is also offered each Sunday within the Mass. But from time to time Christians may feel the need of the reassurance and counsel provided with the Sacrament of Holy Penance. The Prayer Book provides two forms for this Sacrament, one traditional and the other more contemporary. Contact the Rector for an appointment to discuss preparation for this Sacrament.
Visitation of the Sick and the offering of Last Rites of the Church to the dying are an integral part of the ministry of the people of God. Visitation is offered by both Lay People and Ordained Ministers. At Saint John's Church a Visitation Committee has been formed which assists the clergy in offering this important ministry. See the Rector for details.
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