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Sacraments in AnglicanismRequests related to the sacraments of the church can be made by contacting the church office at (618)656-1929.
The Sacraments of the Church.
The church describes the sacraments as “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace”
Grace is God’s favor offered to us; unearned and undeserved.
Basically sacraments are when something holy happens. Many of us can think of moments in our lives that seemed holy or ‘sacramental’. The feeling you get when you touch someone you love, holding a new born baby, telling someone you forgive them, breaking bread and sharing a meal with those you love and care about.
The church has chosen but a few sacramental moments that link us both to Christ and His church and to one another. The Roman Catholic Church has seven sacraments and most Protestant denominations have two sacraments; Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Some Episcopalians/Anglicans hold to there being seven sacraments while others say that Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the biblical Sacraments while the other five are sacramental rites.
What it comes down to is this; in the Gospels Jesus explicitly speaks of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, but the others are definitely directed by him implicitly. Jesus heals, he considers marriage sacred, he gives directions about discipleship and ministry, and he brings forgiveness to those who need it.
Sacraments are not magic. They are moments when earth and heaven touch. If we were fully in God’s presence sacraments would not be needed. They are vehicles through which God comes to us and touches us. They are distinguished by outward and visible signs as well as inward and spiritual signs as well.
Baptism: Baptism is the rite of initiation into the church. It is the action of beginning a new life in Christ and the church. It also signifies dying with Christ, being buried in the waters of baptism to begin life anew in him. The outward sign is water. The newly baptized is often anointed with chrism, or blessed perfumed holy oil, as well.
Confirmation: Confirmation is part of the fabric of baptism. It is the moment when the baptism is “confirmed”. In the Episcopal or Anglican tradition, as in the early church, the Bishop “confirmed’ that the baptism had taken place. The outward sign is the laying on of hands.
The Holy Eucharist: The Holy Eucharist is the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. It is the principal act of worship when Christians gather because Christ commanded that we continue to celebrate it until his coming again. The outward sign is the bread and wine. In it and through it we believe that the real presence of Christ comes to us and renews us as individuals and a church.
Holy Unction: Jesus often laid hands on people and healed them. Holy Unction is the ministry in and through which the church offers prayers for healing and wholeness to a person; not just for physical healing but for the healing of mind body and spirit. The outward sign is the laying on of hands and anointing with blessed oil.
Holy Orders: Jesus’ relationship with his disciples and all those who followed him was about announcing the good news of the Kingdom of God come near. He sent them out to teach and to preach that good news. In the church the special ministry of the ordained primarily is a preaching, teaching, and sacramental ministry. The outward and visible sign in ordination is the laying on of hands.
Marriage: Jesus taught that marriage was sacred; a life-long union between a man and a woman intended by God for their mutual joy, support of one another and the procreation of children. The outward and visible sign is the pledge of vows and the giving and receiving of rings.
Reconciliation: Jesus frequently offered assurance of God’s forgiveness and love. The Reconciliation of a Penitent is the rite in which those who repent of their sins may confess them to God in the presence of a priest and receive the assurance of God’s grace and absolution. The outward and visible sign is the confession and the assurance of absolution given by the priest.