Membership in the church is a sign of a commitment to follow Christ and to live out the Baptismal Covenant.
Membership begins with Baptism. The Episcopal Church follows the tradition of baptism by water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as children of God and makes us member’s of Christ’s body (the Church), and inheritors of the kingdom of God. The Episcopal Church accepts baptism in any other Trinitarian Christian tradition as valid – you don’t need to be baptized again!
If you have not been previously baptized, let our priest know if you are feeling the tug of God’s call and he will work with you to prepare you for this Holy sacrament.
PUBLIC AFFIRMATION of COMMITMENT
If you were previously baptized, you will be asked to make a public affirmation of your commitment to membership. This is done in a simple rite of welcoming and commitment during a regular Sunday service. The five foundations of the life of faith are Worship, Prayer, Service, Study, and Generosity. In your Affirmation, you will be asked to commit yourself to these disciplines.
When Jesus ascended; he left behind his disciples and commanded them to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” Through the laying on of hands, these disciples – appointed Apostles – passed on their ministry of leadership and authority down through the generations of all believers. The Bishop is the inheritor of this authority, and through the laying on of hands at Confirmation welcomes the baptized into the church universal, symbolizing the individual believers connection to all believers across time and across the world.
Confirmation then is done either when the bishop makes her regular visit or at another appointed day and time for a regional celebration of Confirmation. Confirmation is required for all elected positions of leadership in the parish and wider church.
If you were confirmed in another Christian tradition, the Bishop offers the rite of Reception onto the Episcopal Church. Similar to Confirmation, it consists of prayer of blessing from the bishop and the laying on of hands.
Reaffirmation is similar, but is a rite for those previously Confirmed in the Episcopal Church who would like to recommit themselves to a life of faith in the Episcopal tradition.