The sacraments of Baptism and Holy Eucharist are the two sacraments instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism, in the name of the Trinity, is prerequisite to receiving the sacrament during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
Holy Baptism “is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. (It) is appropriately administered within the Eucharist as the chief service on a Sunday or other feast. Each candidate for Holy Baptism is to be sponsored by one or more baptized persons.” (Book of Common Prayer p.298)
St. Mark’s schedules Holy Baptism on four feast days especially appropriate for Baptism: the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, during Easter week, on the Day of Pentecost; and the Sunday nearest All Saints’ Day. Other times may be arranged in consultation with the clergy. Holy Baptism at St. Mark’s is always in the context of a celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Requests for private baptism will be refused (except in the case of emergency baptism).
Click here to download the Holy Baptism Information Form. The form can be returned in person, via mail or by email.
Frequently asked questions:
- Who can be godparents or sponsors? The Episcopal Church requires that the candidate for Holy Baptism have at least one sponsor/godparent who is a baptized Christian. The sponsor need not be Episcopalian because the candidate is being baptized into “Christ’s one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church” rather than into this denomination.
- Can we take photos or videotapes during the service? St. Mark’s does not permit photography or videography during any worship services. Photos may be taken following the service.
- Can our guests/family members who are Episcopalian receive Communion? Yes, if they are baptized Christians.
- What are expectations for those who are baptized? It is the expectation, as articulated in the Baptismal Covenant, that those who are baptized will be faithful in worship, will make Christian formation a priority, and will be involved in the mission and ministry of the Church.
Holy Eucharist is “the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord’s Day and other major Feasts” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 13). There are two parts to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist: the ministries of Word and Sacrament.
- The Ministry of the Word includes hymns, readings from Holy Scripture, a sermon, and the Prayers of the People.
- The Ministry of the Sacrament includes the consecration and the distribution of the elements of bread and wine.
The age at which a child receives communion is left to the parents’ discretion. Once a person has been baptized s/he is fully a member of the Body of Christ and welcome at the Lord’s Table. Holy Eucharist is a mystery, and it is the conviction of the clergy of St. Mark’s that none of us can fully comprehend this mystery, so there is no specific age of discretion. Everyone is welcome to come to the altar rail. Baptized Christians may receive the sacrament; everyone is welcome to receive a blessing.
Confirmation is the sacramental rite whereby those who were “baptized at an early age are expected, when they are ready and have been duly prepared, to make a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism and to receive the laying on of hands by the bishop.” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 412). At St. Mark’s, young people in the 7th grade and older are eligible to be confirmed. Adults seeking membership in the Episcopal Church are Confirmed or Received during our annual Bishop’s visitation. We receive those who were confirmed by a Bishop in Apostolic Succession or in a denomination with which we are in full communion. We confirm adults who come to the Episcopal Church from other Christian traditions. Baptism is prerequisite to Confirmation.