Sacraments

The sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace. The Book of Common Prayer, p. 857

There are 7 sacraments in the Episcopal Church:

  • Baptism

Baptism is a ritual of inclusion and belonging that indicates our desire to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church. We baptize adults and infants in the Episcopal Church on the belief that God’s love extends to everyone regardless of their age. Baptism always takes place within the Sunday Eucharist. To schedule a baptism it is necessary to meet with the rector.

  • Eucharist

Also known as the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion, the Eucharist is “the sacrament commanded by Christ for the continual remembrance of his life, death, and resurrection, until his coming again.” The Book of Common Prayer, p. 859

In the Episcopal Church, all baptized Christians are welcome to be part of this sacred meal.

  • Confirmation

In Confirmation, a baptized Christian makes “a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 857) It completes the initiation rite that began at baptism by transferring responsibility for the promises made at baptism from the sponsors to the one being confirmed. One can be confirmed whenever he or she is ready to accept that responsibility; usually this happens during adolescence if one is raised in a church. Confirmation expresses not only a desire to live as an adult Christian, it also indicates a desire to do so in the Episcopal Church. Confirmation classes are scheduled before the annual Bishop visitation.

  • Marriage

“Holy Matrimony is Christian marriage, in which the woman and man enter into a life long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows.” The Book of Common Prayer, p. 859.

  • Anointing the Sick

“Unction is the rite of anointing the sick with oil, or the laying on of hands, by which God’s grace is given for the healing of spirit, mind, and body.” The Book of Common Prayer, p. 859

This sacrament exists for the purpose of healing — to restore a person to physical, emotional and spiritual wholeness. When we anoint and pray for people, we ask God to release them from anything that prevents a person from being whole. Christians recognize that there is a difference between being healed and being cured. In the sacrament of Unction, we pray for healing and wholeness, which may or may not include a cure.

  • Reconciliation

“Reconciliation of a Penitent, or Penance, is the rite in which those who repent of their sins may confess them to God in the presence of a priest, and receive the assurance of pardon and the grace of absolution.” The Book of Common Prayer, p. 859

  • Ordination

God calls all people into a spiritual relationship and gives us particular gifts with which to live our lives as Christians. We use the word “ministry” to describe our response to God’s call to live a certain way and do particular things. Everyone has a ministry because everyone is called.

In the Episcopal Church, some are called to a special ministry within the church to train, equip and empower Christians to be effective. These are the clergy, and ordination is the sacrament by which men and women become members of the clergy. The three orders in the Episcopal Church are deacon, priest, and bishop.