The Sacraments in the Episcopal Church

For Episcopalians, the Sacraments are ďoutward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that graceĒ (Book of Common Prayer, page 857). The following are general guidelines regarding the Sacraments and their use within the life of the congregation of St. Johnís Episcopal Church.

The Two Great Sacraments of the Gospel

Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as Godís children and makes us members of Christís Body, the Church, and inheritors of the Kingdom of God. We encourage Baptisms to be celebrated at public services during the visitation of the Bishop or on four major feast days of the Church: the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, Easter Eve, Pentecost and All Saintsí Day. Baptisms are usually not celebrated during Lent. The clergy provide pre-Baptismal instructions for adults to be baptized and for parents and Godparents of infants. It is expected that the parents of infants who are to be baptized are members of our parish, or intend to become members.
The Holy Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is the Sacrament commanded by Christ for the continual remembrance of his life, death and resurrection, until his coming again. It is the central act of our worship at St. Johnís. All baptized Christians who receive communion in their own church are invited to join us in receiving Communion.

Other Sacramental Rites

Confirmation is a step in the faith journey begun at Baptism. It is the rite in which we express a mature commitment to Jesus as Lord and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a Bishop. In preparation for Confirmation, the clergy lead a course of instruction in the Christian faith for adults and children.
Ministration to the Sick
Ministration to the Sick includes unction which is the rite of anointing the sick with oil, or the laying on of hands, by which Godís grace is given for the healing of spirit, mind and body. The clergy visit in hospitals and homes to anoint and minister to the sick. Ministration at the Time of Death may be provided to those facing imminent death.
Reconciliation of a Penitent
Reconciliation of a Penitent, also called Penance or Confession, 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. It is not restricted to times of illness or near death. This rite is available at any time by appointment with the clergy.
The Episcopal Church is an apostolic church continuing the teaching and fellowship of the apostles. Through the ordinations of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, God gives the grace of the Sacraments and authority of His Church. All ordinations are administered by the Laying on of Hands by a Bishop.
Holy Matrimony
Christian Marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman who ask Godís blessing to fulfill their vows. At least one of the couple should be a baptized Christian and a member of St. Johnís with six months of consistent worship and support. The priest conducts a course of pre-marital counseling prior to the coupleís wedding. Sufficient notice is necessary to provide time for this preparation. Marriages are usually not celebrated during the season of Lent.

Please go to our Customary Practices page for more information on the sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony as well as the conduct of Funerals at St. Johnís.

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Last Updated Tuesday 8 March 2016