Eucharist (a Greek word meaning “giving thanks”) is the central act of worship in the Episcopal Church. It is the sacrament commanded by Jesus Christ in which “we remember his death, proclaim his resurrection, and await his coming in glory” (BCP, 368). The rite, also known as Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Divine Liturgy, the Mass, and the Great Offering, is the primary means by which we are nurtured and sustained in our relationship with Christ and with one another. The outward and visible signs of the Eucharist are the bread and wine we offer to God in our celebration, while the inward and spiritual grace given is the presence of Christ in the bread and wine, given to his people and received in faith. The Episcopal Church affirms the mystery by which Christ is present to us in the Eucharist without explaining how Christ is present. The doctrine of transubstantiation is not taught in our Church, but the real presence of Christ is affirmed among his people as they celebrate Eucharist.
All baptized Christians who celebrate Eucharist in their own church are encouraged to join us at His altar. Because children are generally baptized and are full members of Christ’s Body the Church, baptized children are welcome to receive the Eucharist as well. Children need to grow up knowing that God’s love and grace has been made available to them throughout their life. As the child matures, we believe that his or her faith emerges in the life to which Christ has called us all in the Eucharist. Those children who are not baptized or who for other reasons do not wish to partake are welcome to come to the rail for a blessing.
Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church (BCP, 298). It marks the entry of a person into the life and teaching of Jesus Christ through his union with the Church. It begins the journey in which a person increasingly grows in the knowledge, love and service of Almighty God. Because it is the expression of our life in Christ as individuals and as the Church, Holy Baptism is appropriately a corporate service of worship in which the newly baptized is welcomed into the larger family of God. Normally, there are five feasts per year when it is appropriate to schedule a baptism: The First Sunday of Epiphany (The Baptism of Our Lord), the Easter Vigil, Pentecost, First Sunday after Transfiguration, and All Saints’ Sunday.
We, the Church, believe that the greatest gift we can bestow on others is the life offered in Jesus Christ! Clergy give pre-Baptismal instructions to adults who wish to be baptized and to parents of infants to be baptized.
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. The Episcopal Church uses confirmation in two ways. First, persons who were baptized as infants have the opportunity as young adults to make for themselves an affirmation of their baptismal vows, to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, and promise to follow Him as their Lord. Second, it is expected that all adult members of this Church, after appropriate instructions, will have made a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibility of their Baptism and will have been confirmed or received by a Bishop of this Church or by a Bishop of a Church in communion with this Church.
In both cases, appropriate instruction prior to Confirmation is a prerequisite. Confirmation classes are regularly scheduled in the Church’s calendar.
The Unction of the Sick or the Laying of Hands and Annointing of the Sick:
This rite, a means of spiritual, mental and physical healing, is always available upon request. In addition, we celebrate a service of healing every Wednesday at 10am in the Chapel. The clergy are also happy to visit parishioners in hospitals and in their homes to pray for and minister to the sick.
Another rite of healing is the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This is distinct from corporate Confession used during most liturgies. Private Confession is an opportunity for us to confess our sins and by this to be led to reunion with our Lord and to new life. It is available to all who desire it and may be heard anytime and anywhere. The secrecy of a confession is morally absolute for the confessor.
The Episcopal Church is an apostolic church, continuing in the teaching and fellowship of the Apostles. Through the Ordination of bishops, priests, and deacons, God gives the grace of the Sacraments and the authority of His church. All ordinations are administered by the laying on of hands by a Bishop.
Christian marriage is a lifelong union between a man and woman who ask God’s blessing to fulfill their vows and who invite God’s participation within their relationship. Pre-marital counseling by an ordained priest is a prerequisite to marriage as stated in the Canons of the Episcopal Church. Permission must be received from the clergy before the couple makes any plans for a wedding. (For more information, please request a copy of our booklet, Marriage Guidelines.) Persons who are divorced are permitted to be remarried in the Episcopal Church only with the approval of the Bishop.