Sacraments

Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace. The Church uses physical things as signs of invisible processes. Water is the sign of union with Christ for those who have been baptized. Taking the blessed bread and wine is the sign of our forgiveness and union with Christ and one another. These and other sacraments assure us of God's love for us.

BAPTISM

Baptism is the rite of full inclusion in the Body of Christ. It is 
baptism into a lifelong relationship with Christ and His Church.



In the case of child baptism, the parents presenting the child take on many of the vows on behalf of their child that an adult being baptized would. These vows include regular participation in Sunday worship,  
parish activities, and continuing Christian Education. The Church also  
makes a vow to "support this person in their life in Christ". (Book of  
Common Prayer, p. 303)



Baptismal classes are conducted whenever a person wants to explore for  
themselves or on their child's behalf the possibility of being baptized.



To begin this process, please make yourself known to Fr. Stanford, and  
he will be glad to meet with you at your convenience to give you  
baptismal instruction, have you fill out a new member's card, and  
schedule a baptism date.

MARRIAGE

Marriage is the sacramental rite of the church in which two persons  
"enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and the  
Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill  
their vows" (Book of Common Prayer, p. 861)



Marriage in the Church is a great blessing that also carries the  
responsibility of the vows made at baptism - regular attendance at  
Sunday worship, participation in the life of the parish, and  
continuing Christian Education.



Some may be reluctant to make such a commitment to the Church as they  
start their lives together. In that case, we recommend other  
arrangements for legal marriage, and when the couple is ready to  
engage with the Body of Christ, they may arrange with Fr. Stanford for  
a blessing of their union in the Church.



Three pre-marital instruction sessions (usually on successive  
Saturdays/Sundays) with Fr. Stanford or another credentialed provider  
will be scheduled prior to your marriage. These sessions are intended  
to strengthen your relationship, anticipate some common problems, and  
get you to envision the future on common ground.



If you have been previously married, please provide Fr. Stanford with  
your divorce decree. Since the Church is providing a document (your  
marriage license) to the State of Texas concerning the legitimacy of  
your upcoming marriage, it is required to certify your ability to  
enter into that marriage. This also provides an opportunity for  
counsel and advice concerning issues that may have affected previous  
marriages. Since the Bishop's consent is required for Fr. Stanford to  
perform a marriage for previously married persons, please factor this  
into your scheduling a wedding date.



To begin this process, please make yourself known to Fr. Stanford, and  
he will be glad to meet with you to schedule premarital sessions and a  
wedding date.

CONFIRMATION

Confirmation is the sacramental rite in which the candidates "express  
a mature commitment to Christ and receive strength from the Holy  
Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop" (Book of  
Common Prayer, p. 860). Those who were baptized at an early age and  
those baptized as adults without laying on of hands by a bishop are  
expected to make a mature public affirmation of their faith, recommit  
themselves to the responsibilities of their baptism, and receive  
laying on of hands by a bishop (Book of Common Prayer, p. 412). Adults  
baptized with the laying on of hands by a bishop are considered to be  
confirmed.



New members' classes are scheduled as needed throughout the year.  
These classes are both informative and reflective. While learning  
about the worship and work of the Episcopal Church, participants are  
encouraged to consider and, as able, to share their own spiritual  
journeys.



The Rite of Confirmation is conferred when the Bishop makes an annual  
visit to St. Christopher's. The visit is usually scheduled when a  
class is ready to be confirmed.



Please speak to Fr. Stanford if you desire to be confirmed.

BURIAL

In the Episcopal Church, burial is considered an Easter celebration.  
Some might be surprised to see white vestments, hear celebratory  
music, and even laughter at an Episcopal burial service. The Church's  
ministry to those who grieve is available to anyone who desires it.  
The only charge required is $200 for the organist. Honoraria to the  
clergy are optional but appreciated.



Members of St. Christopher's and their family members may choose to be  
cremated and placed in the columbarium (collection of niches or  
spaces) in the garden in front of the church. Columbarium spaces are  
$500 each until August 1, 2019, and $1000 each after that date.



One of the greatest kindnesses we can do for our families is to  
prepare for our burial by pre-planning our service and our burial  
arrangements. Forms are available at the office that help with  
organizing readings and hymns that you would like at your service,  
along with other details like flowers (altar flowers are provided by  
the church), eulogy, reception (provided) before or after the service,  
and so forth.



Please call the Church office to speak to Fr. Stanford about arrangements.