In addition to these two, there are other sacramental rites or spiritual markers in our journey of faith that can serve as means of grace. These include Confirmation, Reconciliation of a Penitent (private confession), Holy Matrimony, Ordination, and Unction (anointing those who are sick or dying with holy oil).
Please visit The Episcopal Church website for further descriptions.
Sacraments and other services at St. Andrews
St. Andrew’s warmly welcomes all who desire to join the community of those committing themselves to the way of Jesus to receive the sacrament of baptism.
Holy Baptism is the rite of initiation into the Christian community. As an Episcopal church, St. Andrew’s baptizes infants, children, and adults. Unless there is an emergency situation, Baptism is normally celebrated during the Sunday liturgy. Everyone present reaffirms their own baptismal covenant and takes vows to support the newly baptized in the life of faith. Traditionally, the Church has baptized candidates at Easter, the Day of Pentecost (usually May or early June), All Saints’ Day (November), and the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (early January). We are open to having a baptism on one of the above-mentioned dates or a Sunday that works for the person/family.
The principal act of worship on the Lord’s Day is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. (Occasionally in the absence of a priest our Sunday worship will be the Service of Morning Prayer, which also is part of our tradition.) The liturgy remembers Jesus’ meal with his disciples, when he shared the bread and wine and declared, “This is my body, this is my blood.”
The Episcopal Church believes in the real presence of Christ in and through the Holy Eucharist – the bread and wine are not merely signs. The purpose of the sacrament is that believers become united in communion with Christ our Lord. Belief in the real presence does not imply a claim to know how Christ is present in the eucharistic elements nor that they cease to be also bread and wine. How the real presence is accomplished is left to the action of God.
All baptized Christians are welcome to share in this meal at God’s table. Through Eucharist, God offers the grace of healing and the blessing of the Holy Spirit. We take the Body and Blood of Christ into our own bodies to become “living members” of Christ’s Body in the world.
When infant baptism became normative in the Christian church, confirmation was seen as a way for adolescents and adults to publicly reaffirm the vows made on their behalf as children. Confirmation classes for those who seek this commitment to a mature faith are scheduled when needed. Young people in the church generally take confirmation class beginning of eighth grade or ninth grade. For adults who seek to be confirmed or received (the term for those who come to us from denominations that also practice confirmation by a bishop), the rector will either hold classes or engage in one-on-one discussions.
In the Christian church, marriage is a lifelong covenant between two people, made in the presence of God and the church, to love and care for one another. St. Andrew’s warmly invites all couples contemplating marriage to speak to the clergy. The Episcopal Church requires that at least one member of a couple be a baptized Christian and that both engage in premarital counseling with the clergy. In The Episcopal Church, a priest agrees to perform a marriage only after the premarital counseling has been completed. In the event that one or both members of a couple have been divorced, a bishop provides an additional level of pastoral oversight. St. Andrew’s offers marriage for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.
Burial (although not a sacrament – it is included here, as it completes the circle of life)
In the Christian church, a funeral is an occasion to celebrate the Resurrection as well to give thanks to God for the life of the deceased. Grieving is a natural human emotion. The service of burial is intended to speak to the Christian hope that we are held in the heart of God in life and in death. St. Andrew’s provides burial rites to active parishioners and their families.
St. Andrew’s has a Columbarium within the church that provides a sacred resting place as an option to burial in a cemetery. Those whose remains are interred in St. Andrew’s Columbarium are included in our prayers for the deceased in our annual celebration of the feast of All Saints.