We define a sacrament as outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace (BCP 857).
The Episcopal Church puts special emphasis on the two great sacraments of the Gospel given by Christ to the Church, Baptism and Eucharist, we also celebrate rites which evolved in the Church, such as confirmation, reconciliation, marriage, anointing and ordination. God’s action, of course, is not limited to these seven areas!
Many families return to church after a child is born, hoping that the child can be baptized. The Book of Common Prayer calls baptism “full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church.” (298) The Episcopal Church recognizes all baptisms. If you would like to have your child baptized at Christ Church, please take a few months to “try us out” to see if you’d like for Christ Church to be your spiritual home. Then, please contact the office to talk and to arrange a time to plan for the service. The sacrament of baptism fits best into the holy days of Easter, Pentecost, All Saints Day (the Sunday after November 1), and the Baptism of Jesus (the Sunday after January 6), but other days can be arranged. We do not celebrate baptisms during the season of Lent.
If you are an adult seeking baptism, please be in touch with the office and we will plan for a time of formation.
Everyone, whether 10 months or 100 years old, is welcome to receive the Eucharist, both bread and wine! We offer education on the meaning of Communion to children in the regular course of our children’s education, and do not offer a formal “First Communion” experience, with the understanding that a child’s faith can be wiser than the most seasoned intellectual understanding of what happens at the altar. It had been the tradition of the church for only those who are baptized to receive communion; however, this understanding and practice has shifted over the last 10-20 years. If you are not baptized, we do encourage you to consider taking that step, but you are welcome to participate fully in the Eucharist as you feel called into closer relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
(Please note: we use the terms “Holy Communion,” “Holy Eucharist,” and “Mass” interchangeably).
Our “Introduction to the Episcopal Church Class” is offered for anyone who wants to know more or for adults who want to be confirmed (or, if already confirmed in another faith, received into the Episcopal Church). It meets over four sessions, usually in April or May, but may be offered at other times as well.
In the Episcopal Church teens usually prepare for confirmation in tenth or eleventh grade. We offer a “Confirm not Conform” class during the academic year in which the teen is considering confirmation.
in your compassion forgive us our sins,
known and unknown,
things done and left undone
evil done on our behalf and by our own hands;
and so uphold us by your Spirit
that we may live and serve you in newness of life,
to the honor and glory of your Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In the Episcopal Church the sacrament of Reconciliation (sometimes referred to as Confession) one-on-one with a priest is offered, but it is never mandatory — the forgiveness we are granted together on Sunday mornings in offering the prayer of Confession is sufficient. This is a corporate statement of what we have done and what we have left undone, followed by a pronouncement of absolution. In pronouncing absolution, the presider assures the congregation that God is always ready to forgive our sins.
If you are interested in being married at Christ Church, please initiate the process at least six months in advance. The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and the clergy of Christ Church support marriage equality. Any couple is welcome to seek to be married in the Episcopal Church.
The only requirement is that the partners receive premarital counseling (with the rector or another clergyperson or therapist) and that one partner be baptized. Permission for remarriage after divorce must be granted by the Bishop but is not a barrier in itself for marriage in the Episcopal Church.
Anointing is the rite of blessing the sick with oil, or the laying on of hands, but which God’s grace is given for the healing of spirit, mind, and body. It is included in the colloquially named “Last Rites” often given to those who are dying.
Ordination is the rite in which someone is set apart for ordained ministry as a deacon, priest, or bishop. While every baptized person has a ministry, some individuals are called by God to express their ministry in a particular way. Deacons and priests discern their call to ordained ministry in the context of the local parish, through a process in partnership with the diocesan Commission on Ministry. Deacons are trained locally in a program run by the diocese, while priests attend seminary to receive a Master of Divinity (on top of a bachelor’s degree) before they can be ordained. Bishops are elected by the diocese and are voted on by resident clergy and lay representatives from each parish.