Guidelines On Baptisms, Confirmation Preparation, Marriage and Funerals
Our time is in God's hands.
There is not a moment of our life that is not sacred and touched by God.
Many of those moments from birth to death can be marked in ritual and sacramental ways in our faith community.
Baptism is initiation into the mystical Body of Christ and the beginning of formal membership in Christ's Church on earth. We can baptize at any age of life from newborn to the moments before drawing our final breath. Adults and older children may be baptized when they are ready to state publically their belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Younger children and infants are baptized with the understanding that they will be raised in the Christian faith and able to affirm their faith in Christ on their own at Confirmation. Baptism is a spiritual birth, our second birth when we are born again. Just as we are born physically only once, so we are baptized (our spiritual birth) only once. Therefore, the Episcopal Church recognizes any baptism done with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism is normally administered publicly during a regularly scheduled Sunday service outside of the liturgical seasons of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas) and Lent (the six weeks before Easter). Baptism is also adoption into the local gathering or family of the Body of Christ. Just as we live our ordinary lives at home in the midst of our family home we live our spiritual life in the midst of our family home in Christ. Therefore, except in special circumstances, the expectation is that those who desire Baptism (or Baptism for their child) at St. Barnabas are committed to membership in and participation in the family of Christ here at St. Barnabas and have been part of our community for at least 6 months. Time for preparation is needed, so if you desire baptism for yourself or a child, please contact the church office at least 2-3 months before the desired baptismal date.
Confirmation, Reception, and Reaffirmation
Every Episcopalian is expected to affirm their faith in the presence of the Bishop and receive the laying on of hands for a blessing for their continued growth in Christ. This is called confirmation for those who have not done this in the Episcopal Church or another Christian tradition. Confirmation is the "mature, public affirmation of faith in the presence of the bishop, together with the laying on of hands." By "mature, public affirmation of faith," we mean expressing our own faith in Christ through recitation of the Apostles' Creed and Baptismal Covenant. It comes at a time when we are ready to say "My parents raised me this way, and now I take responsibility myself and publicly affirm my faith in Christ." It is done in the presence of a bishop who is the chief pastor of our diocese and the sign of our connection with Christians throughout the world. The Bishop lays hand on the confirmand's head in an ancient sign of blessing and says a prayer that the Holy Spirit will strengthen the individual to be faithful to the Christian way of life. Reception is an alternative to confirmation for Christians wishing to join the Episcopal Church but who have been confirmed by a bishop in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or some Lutheran churches.
Reaffirmation is a ritual reaffirming Confirmation. It is an option for those who may have returned to the Church after an extended absence or who have experienced a significant spiritual awakening that they wish to mark in a ritual manner.
Weddings - Christian Marriage in our time and place
The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage is a solemn and joyous ritual marking the public commitment of two people to a common life under the vows of marriage. A couple seeking to be married in church should speak with the clergy at least six months before the planned marriage date. Couples will also undertake counseling with clergy (a minimum of three sessions) prior to the ceremony in order to explore the history of their relationship, the nature of their commitment to one another, and the spiritual, and theological meaning of marriage in the church.
Marriage of Same Gender Couples
In the Episcopal church and the Diocese of Colorado, same-gender couples may marry. This is both a solemn and joyful occasion of public commitment to a common life under the vows of marriage. Couples wishing to be married will provide a minimum of six months notice to the Rector. Couples will also undertake counseling with clergy (a minimum of three sessions) prior to any ceremony in order to explore the history of their relationship, the nature of their commitment to one another, and the spiritual and theological meaning of having their relationship blessed in the congregation.
Divorced Persons in the Episcopal Church - those who have been divorced - may enter into a second marriage with the permission of the Bishop. The Bishop relies on the wisdom of the priest performing the marriage in granting permission.
The body’s physical death is a reality we all face as human creatures. Yet, it is one of the most emotionally difficult subjects for us to talk about or prepare for. At the time of death, families and loved ones experience some of the most stressful moments of their lives. It becomes difficult to make decisions and remember all the details that need to be attended to in a short time. Planning a funeral in advance is a loving thing to do and ensures that an individual’s wishes can be known and honored. We have prepared funeral planning documents designed to help individuals think through decisions relating to their funeral and burial decisions. It is written primarily for Episcopalians at St. Barnabas’ Episcopal Church, but others, Christians and non-Christians, may also find parts of it useful.
We suggest making an appointment with Parish clergy to discuss any part of the planning process with you.