Sacramental Rites at Grace (Information about Baptism, Burial, Confirmation, and Holy Matrimony)

Holy Baptism at Grace Episcopal Church Martinez

Holy Baptism is one of the primary sacraments of The Episcopal Church. Through full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit we become members of Christ’s Body, the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble.

Holy Baptism is a gift given by the grace of God, and not merited by one’s acceptance or understanding of it. Infant Baptism is a sign of the faith of the community into which a child is baptized. Infants are baptized so that they can share citizenship in the Covenant, membership in Christ, and redemption by God.

In the case of infants, promises are made for them by their parents and sponsors, who guarantee that the infants will be brought up within the Church, to know Christ and be able to follow him. Older children and adults enter into the Baptismal Covenant for themselves.

The Episcopal Church has stated that Holy Baptism is appropriately administered in the context of one’s own congregation. Although membership at Grace is not required, an important part of Holy Baptism is when the members of the congregation who witnesses the baptismal vows agree to do everything within their power “to support these persons in their life in Christ.” Baptism is, therefore, a community event.

Grace follows the Episcopal Church practice of administering Holy Baptism on or near the Great Vigil of Easter, the Feast of Pentecost, All Saint’s Day and the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (the First Sunday after the Epiphany).

Upcoming dates for Baptism at Grace are:

  • Sunday, May 20, 2018, Pentecost Day
  • Sunday, November 4, 2018, All Saint’s Sunday

Each candidate for Holy Baptism is to be sponsored by one or more baptized persons. Sponsors of adults and older children present their candidates and thereby signify their endorsement of the candidates and their intention to support them by prayer and example in their Christian life. Sponsors of infants, commonly called godparents, present their candidates, make promises in their own names, and also take vows on behalf of their candidates. It is fitting that parents be included among the godparents of their own children. The gender of the sponsors or godparents is irrelevant. A total of three to five, including the parents, is recommended. Sponsors or godparents must be baptized Christians, but need not be Episcopalians.

There is no fee for Holy Baptism. You may wish to consider providing the flowers for the altar on the day of the Baptism, or making a music memorial.

To schedule Holy Baptism at Grace, please contact Reverend Deb at revdeb@gracechurchmtz.org. Please fill out the form below prior to meeting with her.

Holy Baptism information form

Thank you for your desire to express your commitment to the Body of Christ by participating in this Blessed Sacrament and for choosing Grace as your spiritual home. God’s blessings be upon you.

Burial at Grace Episcopal Church Martinez

“The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all meaning in the Resurrection.  Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we too, shall be raised.  The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian.  The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death.  Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend.  So, while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn.”
Book of Common Prayer, pg. 507

When someone dies, it is important for family and the church community to gather, pray for the soul of the one who has died, and give thanks to God for the gift of that life. We also gather to comfort others who share our feelings of loss and sorrow. At a funeral, grief and gratitude mix together and are held up in prayer to God. But it is important to recognize that funerals are to a great extent for the benefit of the living. Through faith we trust that the one who has died rests now with God. Through faith we believe that the love we feel for the one who has died will never die. It is the loss of their regular presence in our daily lives that makes us sad.

When we gather for a funeral we face death and confront our own mortality. The loss of someone close offers us an opportunity to reflect on their example and consider how we live our own lives. At a time of loss, through God’s grace and self-reflection, we pray that we might be transformed, just as we know our loved one already has been.

The following link will assist you in planning for a burial or memorial service at Grace.

Funeral Planning booklet

 

Confirmation at Grace

Confirmation is the sacramental rite in which individuals “express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop” (BCP, p. 860). Through Confirmation, those who were baptized at an early age are invited to make a mature public affirmation of their faith, recommit themselves to the responsibilities of their baptism, and receive laying on of hands by a bishop (BCP, p. 412). Individuals who were baptized into other denominations and wish to affirm their commitment to the Episcopal Church may be received by a bishop. Bishop Marc will be visiting and performing confirmations at Grace on July 1, 2018. We will  be preparing individuals for Confirmation using the Discovery Series: A Christian Journey, which is a ten-week educational program for confirmation preparation Those classes will begin on April 22. If you are interested in being confirmed, please let  Rev. Deb know.
Holy Matrimony at Grace
We are pleased that you are interested in being married at Grace. We believe that “marriage is intended by God for [your] mutual joy” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 423). To that end, we are eager to make your wedding a joyful and meaningful experience. Even more importantly, we want to help build the strongest foundation for your marriage in the many years to come.
Weddings at Grace Episcopal Church Martinez conform to the doctrinal and liturgical practices of the Episcopal Church, which requires all couples to attend premarital counseling with an Episcopal priest, and if desired, with a certified marriage and family counselor.

One of the most challenging and rewarding of human relationships, marriage is meant to be lived out in a community of faith where it can be nurtured and supported by others. Within a faith community, marriage is regarded as a sacrament—as an outward sign of an inward spiritual blessing.  As you prepare for your wedding, and after you are married, we encourage you to get involved in the life of Grace Church.

For more information please contact our Parish Office to arrange to meet with Rev. Deb (925-228-6574).  Filling out the form below will also assist her in understanding your desires for your special day.