Baptism (also sometimes called Christening) is the sacrament through which people become Christians, and are united to Christ in his death and resurrection. Jesus told his followers to baptise others as a sign that they had turned away from their old life, and begun a new life as his disciples. In Baptism, God washes away sin and begins to renew us by the work of the Holy Spirit –so that we become like his own Son, Jesus Christ.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation (also called Confession or Penance) is one of the seven sacraments of the Church. It is available to anyone who may be troubled in conscience, and who needs the assurance of God’s mercy, love and forgiveness. It requires honest self-examination, and penitence – the desire to turn to God and start afresh.
Christians believe that God has made people for relationships of joy with each other; and that he wishes to share his love with those who make a life commitment together.
Marriage is one of the sacraments of the Church, because it makes visible the love of God between a couple who have made such a commitment. A Christian marriage service is a public declaration of love and commitment between a man and a woman, made in the presence of God. Including God in your marriage doesn't mean that you will avoid the usual ups and downs, but you will know that you can look to God for help and guidance and that his love will sustain you.
Same sex couples are welcome at St Nicholas’. At present no Church of England church is legally permitted to marry people of the same sex, and the House of Bishops of the Church of England has declined to authorise a service of blessing for a Civil Partnership. The bishops’ statement says, ‘Where clergy are approached by people asking for prayer in relation to entering into a civil partnership they should respond pastorally and sensitively in the light of the circumstances of each case’ (para 18).
Healing and End of Life care
The Sacrament of Healing (also called Anointing or Unction) is one of the seven sacraments of the Church, which conveys the healing love of Christ to those who receive it. It is available to anyone who is seeking healing, comfort, strength and wholeness. It involves prayer with the laying on of hands, usually on the head; and anointing with olive oil consecrated by the Bishop, usually on the forehead and palms. This gentle ministry of prayer is offered by the clergy and healing prayer team at the 10.30am Eucharist on the first Wednesday and second Sunday of every month. The parish priest and members of the healing prayer team are always happy to visit the sick, or those who may be approaching the end of life, with Holy Communion and Anointing.
Please contact the parish priest, who will be happy to discuss this further with you.
Christians believe in resurrection: that is, in God’s power to raise the dead to eternal life with him. We believe this because of our faith in Jesus’ resurrection from the grave, as witnessed by his disciples. Belief in the resurrection gives us hope even in the darkest times of grief, pain and sorrow.
Remembering the Dead
Christians have prayed from the dead from the earliest days of the Church. We do this not because we believe that our prayers will free the dead from punishment, but because of our faith in the communion of saints. Although we see the departed no longer, we believe that we remain connected to them within ‘the mystical body of Christ’, which includes the living and the dead.