Sacraments

Church of Our Saviour in particular (and Episcopalians generally) are “sacramental” Christians.  We believe that God’s grace is active in our lives from birth to death.  Sometimes we see it clearly and embrace it with gratitude and joy.  Sometimes (indeed much of the time) we ignore it, take it for granted and even avoid it.  But still, we believe that grace is all around us.  As a church we find all sorts of ways to make this grace of God visible, to support one another in claiming it as God’s free gift to us, and in allowing it to transform our lives so that we can be better citizens of God’s kingdom. Our Anglican tradition recognizes sacraments as “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 857) Here is a brief description of the main sacraments. If you are interested in learning more about any of these, please contact the office to be connected with one of our clergy. 

HOLY BAPTISM

In the waters of baptism, we are lovingly adopted by God into God’s family, which we call the Church, and given God’s own life to share and reminded that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ. Holy Baptism, which can be performed through pouring of water or immersion in it, marks a formal entrance to the congregation and wider Church; the candidates for the sacrament make a series of vows, including an affirmation of the Baptismal Covenant, and are baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are marked as Christ’s own for ever, having “clothed [themselves] with Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

All people of any age are welcome to baptized; we believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, as the “bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 298).

At Church of Our Saviour, Holy Baptism is administered as part of the Eucharist on the following occasions: at the Easter Vigil (March or April), on the day of Pentecost (May or June), on the Sunday after All Saints’ Day (November), on the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (January) and on other Sundays throughout the year as scheduled. Candidates for baptism (or if they are children/infants, their parents and sponsors) attend baptismal preparation with one of the clergy. 

HOLY COMMUNION

It goes by several names: Holy Communion, the Eucharist (which literally means “thanksgiving”), the Lord’s Supper, the Mass. But whatever its formal name, this is the family meal for Christians and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. As such, all persons who have been baptized, and are therefore part of the extended family that is the Church, are welcome to receive the bread and wine, and be in communion with God and each other.

Before we come to take Communion together, “we should examine our lives, repent of our sins, and be in love and charity with all people” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 859).

Solemn Communion is offered for children in second grade or higher, to deepen their understanding of what takes place during the Eucharist. (Young children in our Parish receive communion from the time they communicate a desire for it, but may want to know more about the sacrament as they get older.) It involves a series of classes, culminating with the Solemn Communion Service where each child is welcomed into a deeper relationship with God. In the classes, adults and children wonder together about the mystery of communion and the profound gift given to us in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It is an invitation to consider a singular moment in a child’s spiritual life in new and age appropriate ways. The class is offered every winter.

CONFIRMATION & RECEPTION

The Episcopal Church expects that all adult members will, after appropriate instruction, make a mature pubic affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their baptism and will be confirmed by a bishop of the church. Church of Our Saviour offers an adult inquirer’s class on the history, theology, liturgy, and traditions of the Episcopal Church, and its place within the larger Christian faith. This class is a prerequisite for Confirmation. For young people, preparation for confirmation through instruction is offered every year. Adolescent inquirers may choose to be confirmed at the end of this instruction.

Baptized persons who have been confirmed by a bishop in a Christian Church with the historic episcopate (such as the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Church) or by a bishop of a church in communion with the Episcopal Church (such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) are, after appropriate instruction, “received” by a bishop into the Episcopal Church. The ceremony for this often coincides with the liturgy for those being confirmed. 

MARIAGE

“The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” is the hallmark phrase that defines all our ministries.  It is a special joy to plan a wedding for someone already part of our congregation’s life—or a young adult who was raised in the parish.  But we also welcome couples who are exploring a spiritual home for their new relationship and may have never been to Church of our Saviour.   

Weddings and Holy Unions are joyful and meaningful events at Church of Our Saviour.  We blend tradition with personal experience to celebrate the love between two individuals and to bless the new home they are making. 

Episcopalians have been blessing same-sex unions for many years, and are now thrilled to marry same-sex and LGBTQ couples by canon and secular law. Click here for more information about Weddings at COS.

RECONCILIATION

The sacrament of reconciliation is often called "confession." It provides an opportunity to unburden oneself to a priest or bishop, in strict confidentiality.  The priest or bishop pronounces God's forgiveness (absolution) and encourages the person to move forward, confident in God’s love. Public confession is part of most liturgies throughout the year, where the congregation acknowledges "falling short" and a need to return to God. Please contact the office if you are interested in scheduling a private confession. 

ORDINATION

A sacramental rite of the church by which God gives authority and the grace of the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by bishops to those being made bishops, priests, and deacons (BCP, pp. 860-861). The three distinct orders of bishops, priests, and deacons have been characteristic of Christ’s holy catholic church. Bishops carry on the apostolic work of leading, supervising, and uniting the church. Presbyters (often known as priests) are associated with bishops in the ministry of church governance, along with the church’s ministry of missionary and pastoral work, in preaching of the Word of God, and in the administration of the sacraments. Deacons assist bishops and priests in all of this work, and have special responsibility to minister in Christ’s name to the poor, the sick, the suffering, and the helpless (BCP, p. 510). The ordination services are appointed by the church. No person is to exercise the office of bishop, priest, or deacon unless he or she has been ordained.

There are several steps in the discernment process for Holy Orders (ordination) beginning with a conversation between the person who is discerning a calling and a priest. If you feel a calling to ordination as either a deacon or priest, please contact the office to be connected to a clergyperson. 

 

UNCTION or ANNOINTING FOR HEALING

Anointing has always been a sacred ritual in the church. For many centuries sacramental anointing of the sick at the time of death (extreme unction) was the practice. The various movements of liturgical renewal in the twentieth century have recovered the anointing of the sick in its ancient sense as a rite of healing.

 

At COS, on the second Tuesday of every month, we celebrate Holy Eucharist at 6:15pm. For those who attend this service, the sacrament of healing, sometimes called unction, is available. Persons have the opportunity for a priest to anoint them with blessed oil and pray for healing.

Anointing may also be done at the time of death. Please click here for information about End of Life Ministries.