Baptism: Entrance into the Church
In the Episcopal Church, we believe that Baptism is the “full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s body, the Church.” (The Book of Common Prayer, page 298) In other words, Baptism is the sacrament that makes us members of the Christian Church.
A “sacrament” is defined as an “outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace.” (Catechism, BCP p. 857)
When can baptisms occur?
Baptism usually takes place on Sunday morning, in the context of Holy Eucharist, the primary worship service of the Church. This means that every member of the local church can participate as they renew their own Baptismal Covenant along with the person being baptized. So, except for extraordinary circumstances, there are no “private” baptisms at Good Shepherd.
What about Godparents?
Each candidate for baptism is presented and sponsored by one or more baptized persons. In the case of infants or younger children, these sponsors, frequently called “godparents”, should be individuals who will be present throughout the child’s growing years and attentive, along with the parents, to the child’s growth “in the knowledge and love of the Lord.” Since this education is best done through regular worship and since they are making the Baptismal Vows on behalf of the child, it is important that parents, and godparents too if possible, be regular communicants of a local parish. The number and gender of godparents is not specified.
For more information…
If you would like to have your child baptized, contact the church office at 207.864.3381, well before your preferred time of baptism in order to make arrangements.
Weddings and Funerals: Celebrating Life
It is a joy for us at the Church of the Good Shepherd to help you celebrate the important turning points of your life, whether in the joyous uniting of two people in marriage, or in the more solemn joy of giving thanks for the life of a loved one and committing their remains to the Lord to enter into eternal rest with God.
Marriages at Good Shepherd are Christian celebrations, so it is necessary that at least one of the couple is a baptized Christian. You do not have to be an Episcopalian. The wedding ceremonies used in the Episcopal Church range from traditional to modern, and may or may not include a celebration of the Eucharist. This and the other details of the ceremony, such as readings, music, the wording of the vows, and so on, will be determined by the couple in close consultation with our priest.
If the couple desires another priest or minister to marry them in our church, our priest will be happy to invite him or her, but will retain a role as the hosting priest.
If you are interested in being married at the Church of the Good Shepherd, please contact our office at 207.864.3381 about setting up appointments for Wedding Planning and Marriage Preparation.
The Book of Common Prayer provides the Episcopal service of Christian Burial. In a Burial or Funeral, the loved one’s remains (whether bodily or after cremation) are present. We do not usually practice an open casket funeral. A Memorial Service is held if the body is not present. In either case, the family and loved ones may ask for particular readings, songs, prayers, that will best reflect the life to be celebrated.
Payments for funeral services will be made through your funeral director.
Through the generosity and hard work of our Episcopal Church Women and other church members, a funeral reception may be held in our Undercroft.
Please contact our office at 207.864.3381 to make arrangements.