Baptisms, Confirmation, Weddings and Funerals

Baptisms

Baptism is one of the primary sac17009241956_24de09cf2d_kraments of the Christian faith.  This
sacramental act is our affirmation of what is already true—that God loves with reckless abandon all people, including the one we name in this moment—and our celebration of that truth, which we spend our lives living into and seeking to truly comprehend.

We gather as one body to witness and bless the baptisms of new persons in Christ, into our family. All of the children of the parish are our children, whom we promise to raise and support. All of the adults of the parish are our brothers and sisters, whom we promise to support in their life in Christ. And as we learn to do so with those who are closest to us, we develop more fully the ability to love all of God’s people as we go about our lives.

We celebrate baptisms four times a year, on the primary feast days indicated for baptism by the church. The Feast of All Saints, the Feast of Our Lord’s Baptism, Easter Eve and The Feast of Pentecost.  We also offer baptism when the Bishop is visiting.  The upcoming dates for Holy Baptism are:  November 5, 2017, January 7, 2018, March 31, 2018 and May 20, 2018.

If you are seeking baptism for yourself or your child, we invite you to spend several months with us, to see if we are the community of faith for you. During that time, you may talk with the Rector, Pastor Elizabeth, about the possibility of baptism. For those who have been members of our community for some time, you can complete the Request for Holy Baptism at St. Simon’s.

Confirmation, Reaffirmation, and Reception

These are public rites rooted in our Baptismal covenant, where God’s unconditional love for us is publicly affirmed.

The Rite of Confirmation is a community celebration honoring an individual’s personal commitment to follow the way of Jesus. At St. Simon’s, youth in grades nine and up are invited to journey together into what it might mean to see the world through God’s heart of love.  We call this our Seeker program, and  we draw on a variety of sources, including Conform Not Confirm, to support the youth in their exploration. At the end of the series, each youth is invited to decide whether or not to affirm the promises made on their behalf at baptism and make a personal commitment to this Way through the rite of Confirmation. Confirmation is not a ‘back cover’ to our growing in faith, but is one step along the way as we continue seeking to embody Christ in all we do. Please contact Carl, Associate for Music and Youth, for more information and session schedules. 

Reaffirmation and Reception are rites available to those seeking either to renew their Baptismal vows, or to be received into the Episcopal Church, having already been baptized and confirmed in another Christian tradition. Please contact Pastor Elizabeth for more information regarding reaffirmation, reception and adult confirmation.

 Weddings

Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between two people in the presence of God.  A wedding is a covenant of love – the promise of hope between two people who love each other, who understand their love as a gift of God, and who wish to share the future together. It enables two separate people to share their desires, longings, dreams, and memories, and to help each other through their uncertainties. In this covenant, two people belong together, providing mutual support and stability, and if it be God’s will, a place in which their children may grow.

Weddings take place in the gathered community, in the presence of God.  As a church community, we recognize and bless the couple’s relationship as they begin their married life together.

There are two wedding liturgies sanctioned by the Episcopal Church, one in the book of Common Prayer from 1979 and an additional resource entitled Holy Union.  The Episcopal Church requires that at least one of the parties must be a baptized Christian and that the marriage conform to the laws of the State and the canons of the church.

Planning for a wedding at St. Simon’s begins with contacting Pastor Elizabeth. Wedding photo taken by Liz Schrenk of Somethingblue-Design Photography.

Burials: a celebration of life

2016-05-31 funeralThe death of a loved one is an occasion of deep sorrow. It is also a time for the Church to offer comfort to the bereaved, and to assist family members in planning a service that will express thanksgiving for the departed, and witness to the assurance of eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Episcopal Church, a burial is a celebration of resurrection. This is beautifully symbolized by the color for altar hangings and clergy vestments, which is always white for funerals because the liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. The message is clear: because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised.

“Our assurance as Christians is that nothing, not even death, shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.” The Book of Common Prayer, page 862.

Please contact the rector, Pastor Elizabeth, if you need assistance with a burial.  Many Christians find meaning and comfort in meeting with their rector to plan their own memorial service and retain a copy for their own records and for the parish.