Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble. Each candidate for Holy Baptism is to be sponsored by one or more baptized persons. Sponsors of adults and older children present their candidates and thereby signify their endorsement of the candidates and their intention to support them by prayer and example in their Christian life. Sponsors of infants, commonly called godparents, present candidates, make promises in their own names, and also take vows on behalf of their candidates. It is fitting that parents be included among the godparents of their own children. Parents and godparents are to be instructed in the meaning of Baptism, in their duties to help new Christians grow in the knowledge and love of God, and in their responsibilities as members of his Church. (The Book of Common Prayer, p.298)
In the Episcopal Church, all baptized Christians can receive the Eucharist of bread and wine at the altar. In some faith traditions, children must wait to receive the Eucharist until they receive special instruction and participate in a “Holy Communion” service. Children in the Episcopal Church—Anglican Catholics—do not have that restriction. With that said, though, our clergy believe that baptized children should receive proper instruction before receiving communion at the altar for the first time.
Children learn about communion, first and foremost, by attending church and observing those at the altar. They will recognize the reverence at the altar as people kneel and place their hands to receive the Eucharist—and they will want to imitate and receive. When this happens, the stage is set for instruction. In combination with regular church attendance, parent participation at the Eucharist, and the Sunday school instruction, our youngsters begin to demonstrate when they are ready to receive the Eucharist.
Parents are encouraged to speak with the clergy when they feel that their child is ready to receive, so any questions can be addressed. When ready, clergy are happy to coordinate a special date when family and friends may want to take communion together as a family.
Children and Youth
Nursery school and grade school children can participate each week in Christian Education classes during the first half of the Sunday Service. Our renovated Christian Education classroom (The Little Saints Room) is a pleasant, safe and fun classroom for instruction.
Our children range in age from 2 to 12. Daryl Walker, their instructor, provides them with age appropriate instruction. Our current curriculum is Godly Play. It uses the modes of worship life, stories, symbols and rituals used by the Episcopal congregations. Godly Play is the result of over 40 years of research and practice focusing on the spiritual formation of children. The story is told using flat and 2 Dimensional pieces. For example – The Mustard Seed: Has flat green felt, a flat cut out tree, and 2 D nests and birds. At the end of story telling the children have play time. The play time includes drawing pictures, playing with play dough or making a specific craft that pertains to the story they just heard.
Sunday school is from 10:30 AM to 11:15 AM; downstairs in the Little Saints Room. At the conclusion of their lesson, the children return to their parents in the sanctuary during the Peace and remain there until the end of the church service.
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. Those baptized as adults, 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. (The Book of Common Prayer, p.412)
For additional information about Confirmation instruction, please see the clergy.
In the Episcopal Church, we believe that Christian formation is the lifelong process of growing in our relationship with God, self, others, and all creation. Every experience in our lives can provide us with the opportunity to express our faith; the challenge we face is recognizing these opportunities and learning ways to live a sometimes counter-cultural life in a secular world. www.episcopalchurch.org
How do we address this challenge, and recognize opportunities? A firm understanding of Scripture provides the foundation:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
Each week, our clergy preach and teach the Gospel message from the pulpit, and encourage parishioners to read and study Scripture. Weekly Scripture readings from both the Old and New Testaments are read during the Rite I and Rite II Services, and follow the Lectionary (a pre-selected collection of scriptural readings from the Bible that can be used for worship, study or other theological uses). In addition, an Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism, is found in The Book of Common Prayer (pp 845-862) and is a commentary on the creeds in our liturgy, and provides a brief summary of the Church’s teachings. The combination of Scripture and liturgy and teaching can be found in our weekly services.