What are the sacraments?
In the Episcopal Church we take part in certain regular acts of worship. These are called sacraments or reenactments of Christ’s ministries on earth. The two primary sacraments are Baptism and Holy Communion however, there are several others. We believe that God is actively present in the world and in us. In the sacraments we realize His presence and His favor towards us. Through the sacraments, which are freely given to us by God, our sins are forgiven, our minds are enlightened, our hearts stirred and our wills strengthened.
These sacraments are contained in the worship services found in the Book of Common Prayer. Additional information can be found in the Book of Common Prayer.
Questions are encouraged and always welcome. Please feel free to contact the clergy at any Episcopal Church for more information.
What is Holy Baptism and what does it signify?
Baptism is the means by which we become members of the community of believers, defined in the New Testament as the Body of Christ. Just as Jesus was baptized with water by John the Baptist, we include people in the community of faith by baptizing them with water. Following a series of questions, responses and prayers, the priest pours water on the candidate. The sign of the cross may be made on the candidate’s forehead with blessed oil. In the Episcopal Church, a person is baptized only once.
What is Holy Communion?
It is a reenactment of the Last Supper Jesus shared with His disciples before His death on the cross. Any baptized person is welcome to share in this meal of bread and wine. Holy Communion is also called Holy Eucharist, the Last Supper and Mass.
What other Sacraments are there?
Other Sacraments are confirmation, holy matrimony, reconciliation of a penitent, unction and ordination.
Confirmation is when a baptized person, who has been instructed in the Christian faith, makes a mature commitment to God within a worship setting and receives a special blessing and prayer from a bishop.
This is usually done around the age of 13, but adults may also be confirmed. Persons wishing to be confirmed may call the church office at 850-937-0001.
Holy Matrimony is a Christian marriage, in which a woman and a man enter into a lifelong union and make their promises before God in a worship service. Sometimes couples who were married in a civil ceremony will have their marriage blessed in a worship service.
Reconciliation While private confession of sins is not a requirement, anyone may request the reconciliation of a penitent from a priest and receive assurances of God’s forgiveness. The confession is always made in private and kept in strict confidence.
Unction is a special blessing for those who are sick or desire special prayers. A sign of the cross is made on their forehead with blessed oil. Ordination is the sacrament whereby God empowers trained persons for special ministry as deacons, priests or bishops. The service always includes the laying on of hands by bishops.