Holy Baptism is a sacrament by which God welcomes new members into Christ’s Body, the Christian Church, and offers them a place in the reign of God as expressed through the Christian faith. The outward and visible sign in Baptism is water, in which an individual is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The inward and spiritual grace in Baptism is the baptized person’s union with Christ, birth into God’s household, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit.
Who can be baptized? Anyone who seeks God and is drawn to Jesus Christ is welcome to receive the sacrament of Holy Baptism. God’s invitation extends to people of all ages, from infants to the very aged, and from every kind of background.
When are baptisms offered? The Christian Church calendar has four feast days on which Baptisms are especially appropriate. They are the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord in January, Easter in early spring, the Day of Pentecost in late spring, and All Saints’ Day in November. Baptisms may also take place during Episcopal visitations.
What is Confirmation?
The sacrament of Confirmation is a mature profession of one’s faith. While it is often undertaken separately from the sacrament of Holy Baptism, Confirmation is actually a reaffirmation of the baptismal rite and involves a public affirmation of faith and the laying on of hands by a Bishop. For those being baptized as a teenager or adult in the presence of a Bishop, confirmation would take place as a part of the baptismal rite.
In order to be confirmed one must attend the confirmation course, often called Episcopal Church 101 at St. Paul’s. This takes place over several weeks and provides people with an opportunity to learn about everything from basic Christianity to Episcopal worship and the sacraments, from church history to polity and structure. The course considers the importance of the Bible and the Prayer Book in our common lives and is an opportunity for participants take a spiritual inventory to discern gifts for ministry. Finally, the course considers the Baptismal Covenant and how we are all called to Christian action and mission.
Who can attend?
The class is open to ALL—those who want to receive the sacrament of Confirmation; those wishing to be Received into the Church (already confirmed in another branch of the Christian Church); candidates for Reaffirmation (already confirmed in the Episcopal Church but wishing to reaffirm their faith); those who want a refresher course; and seekers and those who simply want to learn more about the Christian faith and the Episcopal way.
Traditionally in the Episcopal Church Confirmation instruction took place during 7th or 8th grade. This is not as common today simply because twelve and thirteen years olds often were confirmed because their parents wanted them to be confirmed rather than because they personally sought to make a mature reaffirmation of their baptismal vows. So, more often than not in many congregations youth do not get confirmed until older (high school or college) or as adults.
At St. Paul’s we will form a Confirmation Class for teenagers (beginning in middle school or older) as there is desire on the part of the youth, or for adults. We have, at times, had intergenerational Episcopal 101 classes. If a Bishop is not scheduled to visit St. Paul’s in a given year (2020 for example) we will either work to get on a Bishop’s schedule or work with Confirmands to find a nearby Church with a Bishop’s visitation where they can go to be confirmed. At times the Diocese schedules area confirmations as well.
If interested please speak to the Rector.
The Sacrament of Christian marriage is a covenantal relationship established when two individuals make solemn and public vows to one another in the presence of God and God’s people. By vows of lifelong faithfulness and mutual love, care and respect, the wedding couple becomes a sacrament, that is, “an outward and visible sign,” of God’s steadfast love for creation and of Christ’s mystical union with the Christian Church. Holy Matrimony is, therefore, a gift to the Christian community, and we thank you for considering holding your wedding ceremony here.
Christian marriage presupposes a connection to the Christian community. In the Episcopal Church, at least one of the individuals to be married must be a baptized Christian. Also, the ceremony must be attested to by at least two witnesses, reflecting the public and sacramental nature of the solemn vows.
Couples wishing to marry at St.Paul’s must be members of St. Paul’s and must agree to pre-marital counseling with the parish clergy, or, if distance is a problem, with a priest near where they live. If either of the individuals is divorced, permission must be obtained from The Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina in order to perform the ceremony. This will be handled during pre-marital counseling by the clergy.
If you are interested in getting married at St. Paul’s, please contact the Church Office (919-934-2675)
The Burial of the Dead is a liturgy of the Christian Church by which we commend a loved one who has died into the blessed rest of God’s eternal peace and affirm our belief that death is never the end to human meaning. At St. Paul’s, we offer companionship and prayer to those whose loved ones have died, helping them to plan a funeral or memorial service that will authentically express their gratitude for their loved one now gone, their grief, and their hope in God’s promise of new life in Christ.
If someone you love is near death, please contact the church office (919-934-2675) and the Rector will contact you to help you through this difficult time.
Concerning the service:
The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all its 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. (The Book of Common Prayer, page 507)