Sacramental Rites at St. Paul's
Confirmation is a sacramental rite in which the candidates “express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop” (Book of Common Prayer, p.860).
Youth Confirmation (typically youth aged 11-16)
“In the course of their Christian Development, those baptized at an early age are expected, when they are ready and have been duly prepared, to make a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism and to receive the laying on of hands by the bishop” (BCP pg. 412).
In other words, for youth, confirmation is about taking ownership of their baptismal covenant and professing what they believe.
At St. Paul’s, we offer a confirmation class that invites youth to explore scripture more deeply, learn about the history, worship (including the sacraments), governance and theologies of The Episcopal Church, and to grow in comfort in identifying and articulating their own beliefs.
St. Paul’s strongly believes that our faith is the foundation of our day-to-day living (it is beyond Sunday morning worship), therefore, in this course (which has been held as both a weekend intensive and as a 4–8-week class), youth are invited to use a variety of curriculums to engage critical thinking, acts of service, and a deep listening to embrace the vocation that God has called them into.
“Those baptized as adults [or in another tradition], unless baptized with laying on of hands by a bishop, are also expected to make a public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism in the presence of a bishop and to receive the laying on of hands” (BCP pg. 412).
For adults, confirmation is usually about deciding that The Episcopal Church is where they feel committed to living out their faith.
Adults are usually invited to participate in a ‘Welcome Course’ led by clergy to learn more about the history, worship (including the sacraments), governance and theologies of The Episcopal Church. The ‘Welcome Course’ is also designed for adults to learn more about St. Paul’s, the ministries offered, and to discern how they may live out and continue to grow into their Christian Vocation within this faith community.
While the ‘Welcome Course’ is required for those who are considering confirmation, reception or reaffirmation of baptismal vows; adults who have already been confirmed or received are encouraged to take this course to learn more about their new faith community.
Those confirmed (who have already made a mature Christian Commitment in another denomination or who have been sacramentally confirmed) in other denominations are received into The Episcopal Church.
At the time of the bishop’s visitation, the bishop will lay hands upon the head of those who are being received, and will use a different prayer from those who are being confirmed.
If you believe that you should be received rather than confirmed, you should speak with the clergy or Christian Educator about this option. At St. Paul’s, we invite those who are considering reception to join a Confirmation Class (either for adults or youth).
Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows
While throughout our liturgical year, our community, together, will reaffirm their baptismal covenant, those who have experienced a renewal of faith or desire to renew their Christian commitment may also choose to renew their baptismal vows at the time of the bishop’s visitation.
Unlike confirmation and reception, reaffirmation can be repeated depending on the pastoral needs of the individual.
Candidate classes and confirmation by the Bishop usually take place in the Spring.
Marriage is one of the nicest gifts that God gives us. It is our hope that everyone who is married at St. Paul’s will find the experience to be spiritually significant and fun. The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, as it is called in the Prayer Book, provides us with a liturgy that upholds the beauty and dignity of our tradition.
Couples to be married at St. Paul’s Church need to have made our community their worshiping home. Couples will spend a minimum of four sessions in premarital preparation with the clergy, three to six months prior to the proposed wedding date. A wedding date will be finalized after a couple’s first premarital session.
While weddings in the Episcopal Church have a lot in common, every effort will be made to make a couple’s wedding uniquely their own. Please call the parish office to initiate your request for a wedding as early as possible. Weddings are usually scheduled for Saturdays and our schedule fills up quickly.
The death of a loved one is a tender time in the life of a family. Please report the death of a member of the Church as soon as possible – our clergy are ready to help you.
A burial is an Easter liturgy, celebrating the resurrection of a loved one. Unavoidably sad, Christians yet give thanks for the life which has been lived and proclaim the resurrection! Our aim at St. Paul’s is to offer a dignified burial that is a fitting tribute and a comfort to those in grief.
To inquire regarding the above sacramental rites, contact the Parish Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on Baptism & Communion, please visit our Sacraments page.