(Liturgy for the Easter Vigil)
By Baptism, we are joined to Christ in his death and resurrection and made members of his body the Church . A period of preparation, decided on by the candidate and the priest, precedes baptism of adults. Parents of infants or children will discuss the service and its meanings before hand as well. Christ Church , as do most Episcopal Churches, regularly celebrates Baptism as part of a Sunday service, with the congregation present. Adults are often baptized at the Easter Vigil, a liturgy held on the evening before Easter Day. If you are considering baptism, the parish priest would be happy to meet with you.
The sacrament of Confirmation provides a means by which those baptized as infants or children can publicly affirm the baptismal vows and by which the grace of the Holy Spirit is given to support the person. For others, it is the rite by which they make commitment to live as members of the Anglican Communion. Young people are usually prepared by a series of classes and are most often confirmed at some point after 7th grade. Those who have been confirmed by bishops in apostolic orders who are joining the Episcopal Church are not confirmed, but rather received by the Bishop. Confirmation and Reception is offered each spring, at a joint service with other area parishes.
"Dearly beloved." so begins the Prayer Book's liturgy for the celebration and blessing of a marriage. It goes on to state the intentions of God for marriage and asks for the couple's whole-hearted and free consent. Christ Church 's liturgy and building makes it an ideal setting for a wedding of great beauty and depth. Couples interested in being married should contact the parish priest. There will be a series of conversations before hand both to plan the service and to explore a Christian understanding of marriage. The Episcopal Church is open to the re-marriage of divorced persons, but it does require requesting the permission of the Bishop. To be married in the Episcopal Church, one of the couple has to be a baptized Christian (regardless of tradition).
When Bishop Smith made provision for parishes within the Diocese of Connecticut to provide a rite whereby same gender unions could be recognized and blessed, Christ Church gladly provided the opportunity for couples to make vows, for their family, friends, and community to pray for them and for the parish priests to bless them. In the meantime, the legal language, here and in other states, has changed and there is a uniform practice of marriage for same and opposite gender couples. At this point, the Diocese and the larger Church has not resolved the question. In the meantime, Christ Church continues to offer a rite that allows a couple to make vows of life-long commitment and to seek God’s blessing on their life together. If you are interested in having your union blessed at Christ Church, please speak with the clergy.
One of the great gifts of the Gospel is forgiveness and the confidence that God's love welcomes our repentance. The Episcopal Church offers sacramental confession as a means of dealing with a troubled conscience or as part of a regular pattern of self-examination and repentance. At the great festivals, times are regularly announced for confessions. Confessions can be made at any time by appointment with one of the parish clergy. Any of the parish clergy would be more than happy to talk with you about this sacrament, how one prepares and what is said- or any other aspect that raises questions.
The burial rites of the Church provide a means by which friends and family can acknowledge faith and hope in the midst of loss, and a means by which we can commend those we love to God's keeping. There is not really a typical pattern these days, but most often the funeral service is a Requiem Mass, offered with the body or ashes present. At the end of the Mass, prayers are said over the body or ashes, and internment follows. The parish offers internment for ashes in the Garden. It is possible, and encouraged, to make plans for ones own burial, and the parish priest would be happy to work with you on such plans.