Holy Baptism is the keystone of our faith and the hallmark of lives lived in Christ. It is the outward and visible sign of God’s grace at work in us, now and forever. At baptism a seed is planted within us that, we believe, will grow and flourish in the fullness of time. In the Episcopal Church, baptism is the only requirement for joining in the Holy Eucharist and all other ministries.
Adults, children and babies are all welcomed at Saint Andrew’s to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. It is normally administered three Sundays a year: the Sunday after All Saints Day (November 1); the first Sunday after the Epiphany (January 6); and the Day of Pentecost. We encourage adults to be baptized at the Great Vigil of Easter, held annually on the evening of Holy Saturday. The church allows for baptism on nearly any Sunday of the year, and there is room to be flexible about scheduling. A good first step is to contact the church office and arrange to talk with Father Richard. There is no charge for baptism at Saint Andrew’s.
The Sacrament of Confirmation
The Sacrament of Confirmation is the apostolic laying on of hands — a step taken seriously in our faith journeys as an indicator of our mature commitment to living into the vows we made or that were made on our behalf at baptism. Confirmation is available annually as part of the bishop’s visit. He reminds us that this sacrament is a kind of “lay ordination,” and we understand confirmation to mark the beginning of a new level of active ministry within the church.
Our young people can choose to be confirmed as part of our youth ministry program. Our high schoolers take confirmation classes and have the opportunity to to be confirmed approximately once every three years, depending on when the bishop visits. Baptized adults also are welcome to receive this sacrament.
Those who have been confirmed by a bishop in the apostolic tradition (such as those confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church or chrismated in the Eastern Orthodox Church) can formally be welcomed into the Episcopal Church during the bishop’s annual visitation. This process is not an act of conversion but something we call “reception,” indicating the special relationship the Episcopal Church has with churches whose sacraments we honor.
We warmly welcome inquiries from couples who are planning their weddings — members and nonmembers alike. Our hope is that non-members who celebrate their wedding here will find an opportunity to re-engage with the Christian faith. The clergy will be able to advise you as to whether or not we’ll be able to perform your ceremony, in line with the guidelines issued by our diocese and the national church. They will also be able to provide you with current wedding fees.
All couples preparing for matrimony must meet with a priest for at least three sessions of pre-marital counseling. The ceremony itself uses the authorized liturgy in The Book of Common Prayer.
At Saint Andrew’s, marriages are celebrated throughout the year, although we try to avoid Sundays and the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent. When thinking about dates, we encourage couples to contact the church as far in advance as possible.
Very generally, couples interested in getting married in an Episcopal Church should keep in mind that at least one of the parties must be baptized.