We would love to be a part of the milestones in your life
There aren't many ways left in our society to mark, in significant ways, the really important life events. We believe that marking them, in the context of Christian community can not only be deeply meaningful at the time, but a source of strength and comfort during the more difficult seasons of life. Here are some of the milestones we'd love to share with you.
In this diocese, the sacraments (for example: baptism, communion, marriage) of the church are available to all people on equal terms and offered in local parishes across the diocese. Please reach out to your local parish priest and start a conversation about how we can support you through these important milestones in your life.
Baptism is the universal ritual of Christian initiation offered to both babies and adults, using water in the name of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. People are baptized as individuals into the community of faith. Parents who bring a baby to be baptized make a commitment to nurture the child in the Christian faith and within a Christian community.
Confirmation, Reception & Reaffirmation
What are the different ways Anglicans renew their commitment? In the Anglican Church there are three formal ways of affirming one’s faith – confirmation, reception, and reaffirmation.
What is confirmation? Persons who have been baptized as infants or young children have the opportunity to confirm the promises their sponsors/Godparents made for them. Often this happens in the early teenage years, but confirmation can take place at any age.
How does a person prepare for confirmation? Preparation for the rites to affirm one’s faith vary from parish to parish, ranging from one-on-one discussions with a priest to participation in a group study. Normally the preparation includes learning more about the basic beliefs of the Christian faith as well as examining how one’s faith is expressed in daily life. Candidates for confirmation can ask any questions they may have about the Christian faith and the Anglican church.
Where and when does confirmation take place? In our diocese, the bishop celebrates confirmation as part of an annual service at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Victoria. Your parish priest can tell you when your next service will take place.
What happens at confirmation? The service is among the rites of the Anglican church at which the bishop presides. During the service candidates are asked to affirm their faith as it is expressed in the Baptismal Covenant. This covenant, found in the Book of Alternative Services, expresses a commitment of belief in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. As well, those being confirmed commit themselves to resisting evil, repentance after falling into sin, proclaiming the good news of God in Christ by word and example, loving one’s neighbours, striving for justice and peace among all people, and to safeguard God’s creation. The bishop lays hands upon each candidate’s head and offers a prayer for the Holy Spirit to support you in the commitment they are making. The service of Holy Communion (the Eucharist) is then celebrated.
What is reception? People who were baptized and confirmed in another Christian tradition (i.e. Roman Catholic and Orthodox) and who have found themselves drawn to the Anglican Church of Canada may ask to be formally recognized as a member of this denomination in the rite of reception. This service is not required of new Anglicans, but some may wish to formally acknowledge the move from one Christian family to ours. Preparation is similar to that for confirmation. The rite takes place at the same time as confirmation in the presence of the bishop with the laying of hands.
What is reaffirmation? Reaffirmation is a rite available for those who have been confirmed or received but who, for a variety of reasons, wish to reaffirm their baptismal vows. For some people, this desire may come because of a long separation from the church. Others may want to reaffirm their vows to celebrate a time of significant spiritual renewal in their lives. The bishop also presides at the rite of reaffirmation, which takes place at the same time as confirmation and reception.
Are there fees for baptism, confirmation, reception, or reaffirmation? There is no fee for these services. We are reminded by Christ that we have received the faith freely, and freely are we to share with others. No one should hesitate to consider affirming his or her faith because of financial restraints or concerns. The Christian faith, however, calls all to a life of stewardship–the sharing of our gifts of time, talent and financial resources. Those who feel called to make a public declaration of faith should consider how they will commit their gifts in the service of God.
In what other ways do Anglicans renew their faith? In the Christian life we are continually affirming our faith. Every time we participate in a service of Holy Communion we affirm our faith as we recite the creed, respond to the prayers, and receive the bread and wine. Every time we witness a baptism and pledge our support of the newly baptized in their life of faith, we do the same. Confirmation, reception, and reaffirmation can be a more personal expression of commitment to God and, even more, of receiving the strength, gifts, and grace of the Holy Spirit. Through confirmation, reception, and reaffirmation we celebrate the faith that we have and seek the strength of God and the renewing power of the Holy Spirit to help us persevere in our Christian journey.
-section source: Anglican Diocese of New Westminister
Christian marriage is unique in that it celebrates the union of a couple in the context of its community of faith. Anglican weddings usually take place in a church because they are public spaces, and the celebration of a marriage is understood to also be a public event. Special permission may be sought by the local bishop (head of the Anglican church in the local region) to hold a wedding outside the church building. Each parish has its own policies regarding weddings; however, all parishes require that at least one member of the couple is baptized and that the couple participates in marriage preparation (the form of which varies). In this diocese, marriage is available on an equal basis to any couple who meets these criteria and is legally entitled to be married in Canada.
Those who have been civily married (married by a government official) may wish to have their marriage blessed by an Anglican priest, in the context of their Christian community.
Anglican funerals balance the needs of the grieving and a celebration of the life of the deceased, with a faith in the hope of the resurrection. Anglicans believe the end of life on earth is the beginning of a glorious new life in Christ. The Anglican Church of Canada offers various forms of service taken from our prayer books. The priest works with the family to arrange a service that will appropriately honour the dead. Services may be held in the church, at graveside, in a funeral home, or in a crematorium. A memorial service may also be requested.
All of these services (we also call them "rites") are open to all who meet the basic criteria above. For more information contact an Anglican church near you. And let us know how it goes. We'd love to hear about it.