Rites and Sacraments

The sacrament of baptism is the full initiation into the Christian Church. The Episcopal catechism tells us “Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God” (the Book of Common Prayer page 858). As the basic rite of entrance into the Church, baptism is an outward sign of the God’s love for us, our new birth into God’s family, our union with Christ, and a renewed life in the Holy Spirit. The Episcopal Church affirms the practice of baptizing infants as well as children and adults. In the case of infant baptism, parents must meet with the Rector to discuss the meaning of Baptism at least once before the Sacrament is administered. In order to schedule your own or your child’s baptism, please contact the Rector or church office.

St. Paul in Romans 11:26 teaches “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Following the teaching of Holy Scriptures, the Episcopal / Anglican tradition teaches that we receive forgiveness and freedom from our sins though Jesus’ death and resurrection. However, the Church also offers rites and rituals that remind us of the forgiveness we have received in Christ. One such ritual is the Reconciliation of a Penitent, or Confession. When our conscience is troubled, confessing our sins, and receiving an assurance of pardon can be a truly freeing experience. The classic Episcopal statement of individual confession to a priest is that “All can, some should, and none must,” meaning that it is always available to those who desire it but its not a required of anyone. Confession is available at scheduled times during the season of Lent and is also available by appointment throughout the year. For more information, please contact the Rector or church office.

Confirmation is a rite that represents a strengthening of the graces received in Baptism and also a claiming of one’s own Christian faith once one has reached the age of reason. Confirmation in the Episcopal Church is performed by a bishop and often occurs when our bishop visits the parish church. For those not already confirmed, confirmation is also a requirement for full membership in the Episcopal Church including those joining St. Thomas Church. For individuals who have been confirmed in another tradition, a rite of reception is also available and is generally celebrated concurrently with those being confirmed. Classes for individuals preparing to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church are organized from time to time. Please contact the parish office for future dates.

The Rector and St. Thomas Episcopal Church are honored to assist you in your time of grief. In the event of the death of a loved one, please contact the church office or Rector in order to make the necessary arrangements.

The text of the Episcopal wedding service teaches that marriage “signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.” (Book of Common Prayer page 423). In the Episcopal tradition, marriage is seen as a sacrament and our wedding service is understood to be primarily a service of worship where two people commit themselves to one another in a holy and intimate way that bears witness to Christ’s love for his people. St. Thomas Episcopal Church is happy to celebrate with you on your special day. We have a detailed Wedding Policy in place at St. Thomas that is available upon request. Please contact the Rector or church office in order to set up a time to discuss the possibility of celebrating your wedding at St. Thomas.