Baptisms, Marriages & Funerals
… or “Hatching, Matching & Dispatching,” according to an old series of church jokes! The rites and rituals that Emmanuel Church offers to mark these moments make it clear that God is profoundly present at these wonderfully important milestones in our life’s journey.
Emmanuel Church understands that people who find themselves at the brink of these moments may find themselves open to seeing the presence of God in ways they had not before. Therefore, we are happy to speak with individuals, couples and families about the spiritual formation that can be a part of these events, regardless of whether they have been involved with the church in the past.
Sadly, Church membership is no longer a norm in American society, and the Sacrament of Baptism now plays a very different role than it did even a generation ago. For example, Baptisms are intended to be included as part of our regular Sunday worship, as opposed to being held privately. Baptism has always been about becoming a member of the Church, “the body of Christ,” and this is now emphasized by the words of the Baptismal Covenant, found in our Prayerbook. Simply put, Baptism is appropriate for adults who have already shown evidence of a serious commitment to the Church and also for children from families who have likewise demonstrated the same commitment. This commitment is marked by regular Sunday attendance and evidence that the family will “work, pray, and give”concerning the mission of Emmanuel. Generally it takes a month or so to incorporate a baptism into our worship schedule.
You’ll find two resources below that spell this out in more detail. First, you will find a more extended description of the sacrament and what it means in the 21st century. The Rector will want to meet with you to discuss a couple of basic questions: Why do I want to be baptized? (Or, Why do I want my child to be baptized?) And, What good do I think it will do? The Rector may require that you write out your answers to these questions prior to your meeting.
Next, you will find a copy of the service itself. In it you will see the specific commitments and promises that parents and grandparents make on behalf of a child, or that an adult candidate makes.
If, after speaking with the Rector of Emmanuel Church about your particular desires, it seems that Baptism is the right next step, please fill out the Baptismal Information Form and return it to us.
For members* of the congregation, there is no fee per se for Baptisms at Emmanuel Church, nor is there any expectation that the clergy receive an honorarium. A donation of of $300.00 is appropriate for scheduling a service apart from regular Sunday worship (for example, on a Saturday), since additional time and resources are required. For those who are not yet full members, the suggested donation is $600.00 for a Sunday service or $1000.00 for a Baptism held at another time.
Because marriage involves both a Sacrament of the Church and a civil contract established by the State, it is in many ways the most complicated rite to prepare for. As explained above, Holy Matrimony in the Church really only makes sense for people who are active in the congregation, but we are happy to work with a couple who are in the process of joining. Emmanuel has put together a substantial booklet including our policies and FAQ’s.
We welcome same sex couples in all aspects of congregational life. Official Episcopal Church policies and a final form of the Rite of Blessing a Same Sex Marriage was approved at the General Convention of 2015. These policies officially commence on the First Sunday of Advent, 29 November 2015. Please note that the basic marriage policies outlined below will apply to same sex couples as well as opposite sex couples.
Please note that the only services the clergy are authorized to use are the one found in The Book of Common Prayer, which you will find below, and any subsequent services authorized for us by same sex couples. Modifications, especially with respect to vows, are generally not permitted.
Generally, it takes a minimum of six months to prepare for Holy Matrimony. In additional to planning meetings with the clergy, Pre-marital counseling is required by the Episcopal Church, and we are happy to discuss what format that might take. Remarriage, after a divorce, is permitted under certain circumstances, which we will be happy to discuss. Generally, remarriage requires additional counseling and a formal request to the Bishop’s office for permission.
The required forms are found below.
There is no expectation of a donation for Holy Matrimony from those members* who have pledged their financial support in the amount of $600.00 or more for the current year, and who are up to date in the payment of their pledge. Nor is there any expectation that the clergy receive any honorarium. For couples who are not members in good standing, there is a suggested donation of $600.00, as described in the Marriage Policy.
The Episcopal Church wants everyone to hear the message of salvation and of our God’s welcome for us at the great banquet which is the heavenly feast. It is a message of hope and comfort and triumph over the power of sin and death. We are willing, therefore, to speak to any family facing a moment of grief about what we can offer in terms of funeral services. Over the years we have worked with and developed good working relationships with all of the local funeral homes. Many people have found the following Funeral Planning form to be useful, and Emmanuel encourages parishioners to complete it and file a copy in the church office long before any need arises.
As with the services described above, there is no fee for a funeral for any member* in good standing. For those who do not have a current pledge to Emmanuel Church, there is a fee of $600.00 ($800.00 if video and audio arrangements must be made for overflow seating in the Parish Hall). There is no expectation that the clergy receive any honorarium.
The information from the Burial Registry form is required for our records.
* Members of Emmanuel Church are persons or families who attend worship regularly, have received Holy Communion at least three times in the last calendar year and who have supported the congregation financially by fulfilling their annual pledge or making regular contributions.