The Great Sacraments
While there are a number of rites that may properly be called sacraments, the Church has always recognized that Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist have a special significance. This is because these two sacraments alone were given by Jesus for the salvation of all people.
After Jesus had risen from the dead, He commanded his disciples to go to people of all nations and to pour water upon them, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:16-20). Through Baptism, we’re cleansed of our sins and brought into the fullness of the Church.
At Holy Comforter we baptize both infants and adult converts to the faith.
The Holy Eucharist
On the night before Jesus died for us, He took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His friends and told them that it was His Body. Then He took a cup of wine, blessed it, and gave it to His friends and told them that it was His Blood. And He told them that they should continue to do this in remembrance of Him (Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22,24, Luke 22:19-20 and 1 Corinthians 11:20-34). We who are His friends and disciples continue to share in this sacred meal even to this day.
We believe that when we bless and share this bread and wine that it becomes for us His Body and His Blood. That is to say, we believe that He is truly present. We don’t know how it happens but we’re glad that it does. It’s a great gift that Jesus has left to His Church. It gives us a way to be with Him, to be close to Him, to come to know Him deeply and truly. When we share in the Holy Eucharist, we are brought closer to God and to each other. We are spiritually nourished and given a foretaste of the heavenly banquet that Our Lord has prepared for us. The Holy Eucharist prepares us for eternal life with God.
At Holy Comforter we celebrate the Holy Eucharist every Sunday at 9:30am and every Wednesday at noon. We also celebrate it on other special occasions throughout the year. You can check out our full worship schedule for more information.
While Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist are at the center of our lives as followers of Jesus, they aren’t the only ways in which we receive God’s grace. A number of other sacramental rites exist that have been celebrated since the earliest days of the Church, including Confirmation, Ordination, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation, and Unction of the Sick.
The Bible tells us over and over that the Church is far more than just a group of believers. In some mysterious way, the Church is the Body of Christ, the continuing presence of Jesus in the world (Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-31, Ephesians 1:22-23, and Ephesians 4:1-16). Followers of Jesus are united to God and to each other organically, as the ligaments of the body are connected to the head and the heart.
Baptism brings us into the Body of Christ and Confirmation strengthens us in our relationship to the Body of Christ. In Confirmation, we receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands by a bishop. The bishops, as successors of the apostles, provide us with a living connection back to Jesus, back to the heart of our faith. Those who were baptized as infants receive an opportunity to take ownership of their faith. Those baptized as adults are further strengthened in their relationship with Christ through His Church.
Confirmation is offered at Holy Comforter approximately every other year, whenever the Bishop of Pennsylvania has scheduled an episcopal visit to the parish. The exact date for Confirmation thus varies depending on the visitation schedule of the bishop. For more information, please contact the priest.
All baptized Christians are called to service in the Church and in the world. Some are called to specific roles of authority and leadership. Since the earliest days, the Church has ordained people called by God into three distinct orders of ministry: bishops, priests, and deacons.
Bishops are the direct successors of the apostles. They oversee the life of the whole Church, guarding the faith and unity of the Church, and representing the local Church to the universal Church and the universal Church to the local Church.
Priests serve under bishops as pastors and teachers of the faith. Priests are also responsible for the sacramental life of the Church within their communities.
Deacons have a particular ministry of service to those in need. Deacons also assist priests and bishops in teaching and in the administration of the sacraments.
Members of Holy Comforter who feel a calling to ordained ministry should make an appointment to speak with the priest to talk about the next steps in their discernment.
In Holy Matrimony, a man and a woman are united as one in Christian marriage. The Bible teaches us that this sacramental union was given by God in creation (Genesis 2:22-25) and that within it is a sign of the mysterious union between Jesus and the Church (Ephesians 5:21-33). In the marriage rite in The Book of Common Prayer, we learn that the marriage of two people is intended by God “for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord” (page 423).
Holy Matrimony is celebrated regularly at Holy Comforter. For more information, visit our Getting Married at Holy Comforter page.
Reconciliation of a Penitent
Commonly known as Confession, the sacrament of Reconciliation allows for followers of Jesus who have fallen into sin to be set free and return to God. The confession of specific sins is made to God in the presence of a priest who offers counsel, assurance of God’s forgiveness, and the grace of absolution. While not required in the Anglican tradition, Reconciliation is a great gift given to us by God to ease our minds and to hold us accountable to God and to the Church. No sins are too small or too large to be confessed, and all people are encouraged to make their Confession, either on a regular basis or as the need arises.
Reconciliation is available at Holy Comforter throughout the year. To make an appointment, contact the priest or call the church office at 610-789-6754. All confessions are absolutely confidential and are never again brought up once absolution has been pronounced.
Anointing of the Sick
Anointing is given as a means of healing for those who are afflicted in mind, body, or spirit. While Anointing is often administered at the time of death, it is a sacrament that is available to anyone at any time. It involves the priest anointing the forehead of the ailing person with oil, laying hands on the sick person, and then praying for healing.
Anointing of the Sick is offered throughout the year on Wednesdays as part of our noonday healing Eucharist. It is also available privately by request. To make an appointment, please contact the priest or call the church office at 610-789-6754.