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Life Events

In this section, you’ll find information about special services:

Baptism: the ritual act by which a person is admitted as a member of the Church

Confirmation: a formal renewal of the vows made at baptism

Weddings: celebrating the union of a couple in the context of their relationship with Christ and the whole Christian family

Funerals: balancing the grief of the living with a celebration of the life of the deceased, and faith in the hope of the resurrection

Other special services: there are many other ceremonies and services available for personal celebrations

Baptism

Baptism (which comes from the Greek verb “to wash”) is the universal ritual of initiation into the fellowship of followers of Jesus Christ known as the Church. Christians, whether adults or babies, are baptized with water in the name of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Baptism is one of the two holy acts mandated by Jesus. The other is the sacred meal of bread and wine known as the Eucharist.

While people are baptized as individuals, they are baptized into a community of faith that promises to:

  • persevere in resisting evil
  • forgive one another, as God has forgiven them
  • seek and serve Christ in all persons
  • strive for justice and peace among all people, respecting the dignity of every human being
  • strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and
  • respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth

Parents bringing children to be baptized make a commitment to nurture them in the faith and life of the Christian community.

All baptized persons are encouraged to participate in God’s work in the world through their gifts of time, talent and financial resources.

Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child

The Church also offers a service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child. This service provides an opportunity for a family to give thanks for the birth or adoption of a child and to pray for God’s help in the child’s care and nurture.

If you would like to be baptized, have your child baptized or have a service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child, speak to your parish priest or contact your local Anglican church.

Confirmation

Confirmation involves renewing your commitment to Christ and the vows made at your baptism. It can be an important part of a lifetime journey of faith. Friends, family and the Christian community pledge to support you.

In our Diocese, confirmation can happen either when a bishop visits your local parish or at the annual diocesan Confirmation service at St. James Cathedral. The first step is to talk to your local parish priest.

If you’ve already been confirmed, you can choose to formally reaffirm your commitment to Christ.

Weddings

Christian marriage celebrates the union of a couple in the context of their relationship with Christ and the whole Christian family.

Anglican weddings normally take place in church buildings, but they can also take place in another venue with the bishop’s permission. Your priest can help you figure out the details.

Contact your local parish priest at least 90 days before the date you’d like to get married. This allows time for proper preparation for marriage and for a conversation with the priest about the details of the service. It also allows you to be informed about the parish’s policy on weddings.

The Anglican Church does marry divorced people, though your parish priest will need to get permission from the bishop first.

Funerals

Christians believe that the end of this life on earth is the beginning of a glorious new life in Christ. Anglican funerals try to balance the grief of the living with a celebration of the life of the deceased, and faith in the hope of the resurrection.

If your loved one is approaching death or has died, your local parish priest would be honoured to walk with you and support you in this difficult time.

Services

The Anglican Church of Canada offers various forms of service from the prayer books of the church. These services offer different opportunities for family and friends to participate.

The priest and family together arrange the service structure, readings, music, readers, prayer leaders and other appropriate ways to remember the departed.

The prayer books assume the presence of the body or cremated remains at the funeral. Services may be held also at the graveside, in a funeral home or in a crematorium in addition to or instead of the service in the church. A memorial service may also be requested.

Next steps

For more information on Anglican funerals, contact your local parish priest or ask your funeral director to direct you to an Anglican clergy person.

Other special services

There are many other ceremonies and services available for personal celebrations, such as the blessing of a new home or the renewal of wedding vows. For details, speak to your parish priest.