Life's Big Events

The Sacraments of Baptism, Communion, Confirmation, Marriage and Burial

There are events in a person’s life that draw them to a faith community – sometimes for a brief moment, and sometimes in wonderful, rich and lifelong ways. And we realize that there are questions that you may have if you are at one of these points. Please read on about these important times and how we might experience them together. Click www.stmaryspr.org/lifes-big-events for more information.

Baptism

In baptism we celebrate the life of an adult or a child as a gift from God. Through baptism we receive the assurance that God loves us and constantly offers us the grace we need to grow and thrive.

We respond to God’s gift of saving love with commitment. In our Baptismal Covenant we promise to lead a life in the model of Christ, a life of compassion, spiritual growth, seeking after and worshipping God, serving our neighbors and working for justice for all people. The church community promises to support us in this path. In baptism we promise to take our place in the community by adding our gifts and strengths and bringing our hopes and needs into the body of Christ.

Baptism is a ritual of entrance into the body of Christ and into a life set apart for the ‘wide path’ of the world. At St. Mary’s, baptism is not a naming ceremony, a magical ‘get out of jail free’ card or a family tradition. It is a deep and rich symbol of God’s loving commitment and our grateful response. That response is called discipleship. 

Baptisms are celebrated on the folowing dates:
  • The Feast of Saint Mary: August 20, 2017
  • First Sunday After All Saints Day: November 5, 2017 
  • First Sunday After Epiphany;  The Baptism of Our Lord: January 7, 2018
  • Last Sunday in Epiphany: February 11, 2018
  • The Geat Vigil of Eatser: March 31, 2018
  • Pentecost: May 20, 2018

If you are seeking baptism for either yourself or your child please contact Father Patrick.

Communion

In communion we are offered the free gift of mystical connection with Christ in our souls and in the gathered community. The grace and mystery of the sacrament are such that we are always growing in to a deeper understanding of our relationship with God. We believe that the love of Jesus expressed when he gave us the gift of communion was for all people and so all are welcome at communion at St. Mary’s.

Our Atrium programs for children do an excellent job of helping children understand communion in age appropriate ways. We believe that children understand communion in their own way and so they are welcome at the table. Grace does not depend on cognition or ‘right thinking’ to reach our hearts.

At St. Mary’s all are welcome to receive communion.

Confirmation

Confirmation is an opportunity for a person to declare a commitment to the person and ways of Jesus Christ and to ask for the community’s support in this decision. Individuals seeking confirmation may consult with the clergy about their intentions. St. Mary’s offers a variety of formation programs throughout the year which lead to confirmation by one of our Diocesan Bishops.

Marriage

In marriage we experience the nurturing and healing love of God through the committed love of our life-partner. We are loved and we give love. We challenge each other to grow and we accept each other as limited and flawed human beings. Our relationship becomes a source of life for children, our wider families and our community. Weddings are sacred because two people are giving themselves in trust, love and faith to each other.

The pre-marital process at St. Mary’s begins with a meeting between the couple and one of our clergy. Our first goal is to get to know you and to understand your life story as a couple and as individuals. At each step of the process we will use interpersonal meetings to clarify expectations and prepare you for a healthy life-long bond of love. The Episcopal Church requires a minimum of six hours of pre-marital preparation. Ideally this is accomplished through a series of meetings with you and the clergy in the months leading up to your wedding date. In some cases the clergy may recommend working with a professional counselor as you prepare for your wedding.

The remarriage of divorced persons is permitted in the Episcopal Church in certain cases permitted by Canon Law. Divorced persons seeking remarriage in the Episcopal Church are reminded that sufficient time (at least three months) must be allowed for securing the required papers and the permission of the Bishop. Inter-faith marriages are welcome as long as one person in the couple is a baptized Christian.

Burial

A service of burial is an opportunity to say good-bye, to say thank you, to seek hope and comfort and even to seek healing and forgiveness when we struggle with loose ends in our relationship with the deceased. We gather to remember and celebrate the life of our loved one and to let ourselves mourn the loss within the comforting context of our hope in life eternal with God.

The clergy at St. Mary’s are on call to minister to the sick and the dying. We are glad to come to your home or the hospital to pray, talk and share the sacraments. We are also glad to accompany you to the funeral home to advise you as you make preparations. Wakes are strongly encouraged as they provide time for support and connection with friends and family. Often stories are told and we learn so much more about the meaning of the life of our loved one.

The clergy will work with you as prepare and personalize the funeral service. The church is available for receptions after the funeral.

Please contact one of the clergy to schedule a funeral.

Columbaria

The function of a Columbarium is to provide a location for the interment of cremated remains. We have two at St. Mary's -- one in our Chapel and one in our courtyard garden. It is also possible for in ground interment of ashes.