a vibrant and affirmative congregation and ministry
New Bedford, Massachusetts

Sacraments

Episcopal Church worship is sacramental. Sacraments are “outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace,” which strengthen us to do good work and lead us deeper into the life of faith. God’s grace and gift flow into the world in an endless number of ways, and the sacraments are one of the ways that God works in our lives.

The two great sacraments are Baptism and the Eucharist.

Five other sacraments include Holy Matrimony, Ordination and those listed below.


Confirmations, Reception & Reaffirmation

In Confirmation, a baptized Christian makes “a mature commitment to Christ, and receives strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 857) 

One can be confirmed whenever he or she is ready to accept the promises made on their behalf at their baptism. This can happen during the teen years or adults of any age may be confirmed. Confirmation expresses not only a desire to live as an adult Christian, it also indicates a desire to do so in the Episcopal Church and the world-wide Anglican Communion.  

The sacrament of Confirmation is something that a bishop performs, so our confirmations are scheduled around the times when the bishop has set for them. Typically, confirmation follows a period of preparation, examination, and exploration into aspects of the Christian life.

The rite of Reception is available for those who have been baptized and confirmed by a bishop in another Christian church (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, or Eastern Orthodox for example), but who wish to formally recognize their new membership in the Episcopal Church. Receptions take place during confirmation services. 

Reaffirmation of faith is available to all those who have previously been received or confirmed in the Episcopal church and for any of a variety of reasons wish to publicly reaffirm their baptismal vows.

For more information on how Grace Episcopal Church can assist you in planning for any of these, please contact our clergy.

The Book of Common Prayer service for Confirmation, Reception, and Reaffirmation


Healing Prayer (or Anointing of the Sick)

This sacrament exists for healing — to restore a person to physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness. When we anoint and pray for people, we ask God to release them from anything that prevents a person from being whole. Christians recognize that there is a difference between being healed and being cured. We pray for healing and wholeness, which may or may not include a physical cure.   

During a serious illness, ministry team also is available to visit, whether in the hospital, in the nursing home, or at home. Such a visit may include anointment, with communion, along with prayer, if desired.

Healing prayer is offered directly after each Wednesday 10:00 am service and, on the first Sunday of the month, before the Saturday 5:00 pm service, after the Sunday 8:00 am service, and during the Sunday 10:00 am service.

To request that a name be added to the list of those being prayed for by the parish, in the weekend bulletin and in the weekly ENews, please contact our church office. Click here to submit a request online.

The church also has a rite for the last stage of our life on this earth, called Ministration at the Time of Death (or commonly known as Last Rites). This is found on page 462 of the Book of Common Prayer. If this is desired, please contact the clergy or call the church office. If the church office is closed, you can contact clergy through dialing 6 for a pastoral emergency.

The Book of Common Prayer service for Anointing of the Sick


Reconciliation (or Confession)

In the Episcopal church, we usually pray together a general (or corporate) confession of sin during services, but there is a place as well for individual confession. The Book of Common Prayer has two brief services of reconciliation (pages 447 and 449) which can be shared with a priest.

On occasion, when struggling with a heavy burden, a sense of harm that we feel we have caused, or a way in which we feel that we have seriously strayed from God’s good purposes for us, we also may feel the profound need to share this confidentially with someone who can listen and more directly reflect or embody the truth of God’s mercy and loving-kindness.
If you desire the sacrament of reconciliation, please contact our clergy.

Confession is always a matter of strict confidentiality. 

To arrange to make your confession, please contact our clergy.

The Book of Common Prayer service of reconciliation