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Baptism, Confirmation, Reception
There are numerous Biblical references to laying on of hands:
- Genesis 48:14 14 Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn.
- Genesis 48:17–20 17 Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn;
- Numbers 8:12 12 Then the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the young bulls, and you shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering to the Lord, to make atonement for the Levites.
- Matthew 19:13-15 13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for nof such is the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.
- Mark 6:5 5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.
- Luke 4:40 40 When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.
- Acts 19:6 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
There are dozens more examples of the act of laying on of hands in both the New and Old Testaments (all of the quotes above are from the New King James version).
There is no requirement for physically laying one's hands on a person for a specific ministry. Jesus laid His hands on many of those He healed; however, He also healed from a distance, without laying His hands on people. Sometimes he wasn't even in the same town as the people he healed (Matthew 8:8 describes Jesus healing the servant of the centurion while He was nowhere near the centurion’s house).
The point is that the laying on of hands is simply a way of passing God's gifts from the giver to the receiver. In the case of Baptism, Confirmation and Reception, the connection is between the priest (for Baptism) or bishop (for Confirmation and Reception) and the receiver of the spiritual gift. Laying on of hands has no power in itself. Laying on of hands is only used by God when it is done in agreement with God's Word.
Infant Baptism of those who are not Church members Readers who are not fully communicant members of the Episcopal Church should understand that it is the view of the Episcopal Church that infant and child Baptism is only appropriate when at least one parent is an active member of a congregation and thus willing and able to raise the baptized child as a Christian within the Church and congregation. Historical and cultural affinity or having been baptized as an Episcopalian oneself are not, without an ongoing commitment to a Christian life within the Church, a sufficient justifications for Baptism of a child at an age when that child is incapable of making commitments for him or herself.
Baptism is the initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into full membership of the Church. Water is its essential visible sign, and the candidate is either immersed in it or has a liberal quantity poured over them. There is no other requirement than Baptism in order to participate in the Holy Eucharist; and equally no person who is not baptized may do so.
Our church recognizes all baptisms performed with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: this means that anyone baptized in a Christian church of any denomination may take communion in an Episcopal Church.
Baptism initiates the candidate into the communal life of the congregation. In the Episcopal Church, therefore, Baptisms are normally administered publicly during the Eucharist as the chief service on a Sunday or other feast. Easter, Pentecost, All Saints' Day and the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ are especially appropriate days, as is the day of the bishop's visitation.
Each adult candidate for Baptism must have at least one sponsor who is an active member of the congregation in which the candidate is to be baptized. In the case of infants or younter children, at least one sponsor, called a godparent, will make the baptismal vows on behalf of the child. Such a godparent must, therefore, be a member of the Episcopal Church and of the congregation that the candidate will be joining. In either case, other persons whose presence the family or candidate desires can be witnesses to the baptism, even if they are not members of the Episcopal Church.
Confirmation, Reception, Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows Confirmation is the renewal of baptismal vows for those baptized at an early age who desire to make their first adult affirmation of faith. It is a sacrament of mature adulthood. Baptism, not Confirmation, admits a person to Holy Communion. With the bishop's permission, congregations are encouraged to develop their own rites for adolescents should such rites seem pastorally required.
Reception into the Episcopal Church
Reception is a renewal of baptismal vows for those who have made a mature affirmation of faith in any other Christian church and who now wish to join the Episcopal Church. Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows is a renewal of baptismal vows for those who were baptized as adults without laying on of hands by a bishop, for those who have made a mature affirmation of faith but have returned from a lapse of Christian practice, for those concluding a period of personal or pastoral crisis, and for those who are experiencing a new call from God to grow in faith or to begin a new ministry. Confirmation, Reception and Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows are all performed with laying on of hands.
Congratulations! The clergy and people of Christ Church New Brighton rejoice with you as you prepare to celebrate the sacramental rite of Marriage. Your decision to enter this covenant of love is a sign of your new vocation to faithful and life-giving service to each other, your family and friends, and to God. In this way marriage represents for us the life-giving love and service Christ gave to the world. At the wedding ceremony we will witness and bless the love that God has already begun within you. At your wedding you will receive the sacramental grace to fulfill the promises and vows you make. We hope that the information on this page will help you prepare for that special day.
Click here to download the Christ Church Marriage Guidelines document. An Adobe .pdf file will open in a separate window. Please print this document, read it carefully, and fill out the questionaire on the last page. Bring this document with you when you make an appointment to speak with the rector to plan your wedding.
The clergy and people of Christ Church New Brighton extend their prayers and condolences to you upon the death of your loved one. We hope that these guidelines will help you to plan a dignified funeral service within the liturgy of the Episcopal Church.
Click here to download the Christ Church Funerals Guidelines document (Appropriate Readings & Hymns document). An Adobe .pdf file will open in a separate window. Please print this document, read it carefully, and fill out the questionaire on the last page. Bring this document with you when you make an appointment to speak with the rector.