The Celebration and Blessing of Marriage
The love between two people becoming one is evidence of God’s self-giving love for all. Grace Church joyfully celebrates opposite and same sex couples who enter into a life-long unions and desire the blessing of God and the support of the Church to help them fulfill the vows they make.
Couples thinking about celebrating their marriage at Grace should meet with Rev. Laurie as a first step before plans for the ceremony are made. Should either member of the couple be divorced, divorce papers must be submitted for review at the time of the request. A minimum of three months is required to prepare for the ceremony. Couples attend four, hour-and-a-half long pre-marital meetings, followed by a rehearsal. It is expected that couples will regularly participate in Sunday worship as part of their preparation.
Adult Baptism: Adult Baptism is considered normative in the Episcopal Church. Baptism is the rite of initiation that defines the Christian community, its mission and ministry. Through it, we profess our faith in God as the source of all that is good; the One who exhibited profound love for humanity in Jesus. We die to our old selves when we are baptized and are resurrected into new life with Christ.
Infant/Child Baptism: The Episcopal Church baptizes infants and children because God’s love precedes our ability to comprehend or respond to it. When infants are baptized the community of faith promises to raise them in “the knowledge and love of the Lord.” That is why it is expected that adults who present children for baptism will themselves be baptized and be active members of the congregation. An important note: There’s no rush to baptize infants in the Episcopal Church. We believe that God loves your child as much as you do (and maybe even more at 3 a.m.)!
Baptismal Feast Days: Baptism takes place as part of a regular worship service on these Sundays:
Great Vigil of Easter: The Saturday night before Easter Sunday
Pentecost: Two months after Easter
All Saints’ Day: The Sunday after Halloween
The Baptism of our Lord: The Sunday after Epiphany
Preparation: Grace requests that baptismal arrangements be made at least three weeks prior to one of the above mentioned feast days. Preparation for the parents and sponsors (Godparents) is generally held on the Saturday prior to the baptism unless alternate arrangements are made.
Confirmation, Reception, and Re-Affirmation
Confirmation is made when a baptized person has decided to make a public affirmation of the vows that his/her parents/guardians and godparents made on his/her behalf at Baptism. (See baptism)
Reception is available for those who were confirmed in another Christian denomination and would like to re-affirm their vows as a member of the Episcopal Church.
Re-affirmation is the opportunity for members of the congregation to renew or reaffirm their faith before the Bishop. Persons often elect to re-affirm their faith because they have returned to Church after a long absence, have had a spiritual awakening as a result of a personal experience, or are deepening their commitment to Jesus in the Church through an elected leadership position, a new ministry, etc.
Preparation involves a four-week education program held in February and March.
In the face of death, Christians re-affirm our faith that our God has conquered death forever in Jesus. That is why in Christian burial we celebrate the beginning of our full life in God.
Families and friends are encouraged to gather in the Church for a Christian burial. The Church is the place we received our second birth at baptism, and so it is particularly appropriate to celebrate our new life in death before the baptismal font. The Church is also the place where heaven and earth touch every week, when we gather around table to eat the “bread of heaven” and drink the “cup of salvation”. It is before the altar that we are reminded of the heavenly banquet where God will dry all tears forever.
Please contact Rev. Laurie immediately upon the death of a loved one: 973-747-8290