Come to the table...
o those of you who have much faith and those of you who are seeking more.
o those of you who have been to this feast often and those who have not been in a long time.
o those of you who have tried to follow Jesus but believe you have failed.
It is the feast of Jesus and he invites us all to meet him here.
The Iona Community
“Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace”
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 857).
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.
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, a book used for worship and as a guide for Christian life. A complete outline of the Episcopal faith can be found on pages 845-862 of the Book of Common Prayer. Your questions are encouraged and always welcome.
Q: What is Holy Baptism?
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.
Q: 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.
other sacramental acts
Q: What are the other sacraments?
Besides Baptism and the Eucharist (Holy Communion), the church recognizes other spiritual markers in our journey of faith. These include:
Confirmation (the adult affirmation of our baptismal vows), pp. 413-419, Book of Common Prayer
Reconciliation of a Penitent (private confession), pp. 447-452, Book of Common Prayer
Matrimony (Christian marriage), pp. 422-438, Book of Common Prayer
Orders (ordination to deacon, priest, or bishop), pp. 510-555, Book of Common Prayer
Unction (anointing with oil those who are sick or dying) pp. 453-467, Book of Common Prayer
These help us to be a sacramental people, seeing God always at work around us.