There are a number of rites of the Church, loosely called sacraments, pastoral offices, or rites and ceremonies. The old catechisms told us that sacraments were outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace. In some ways that would be more helpful when we remember what a sign is. Signs either point us to something or declares something. It may be pointing us where to go, or it may be one of the big red signs to tell us to go back, we are going the wrong way, or it may be there to tell us what we are looking at.
There are several important moments in life where we have often looked to the Church for the celebration of these great moments, be they life, commitment, or farewell. The sacraments at these moments point us not simply to what has happened, they point us beyond, they declare the spiritual truth behind the physical reality. And they are always a celebration of the love of God which is beyond human comprehension.
Baptism is a particular mark of the start of our Christian life. As such it is first and foremost a sign of the journey which expresses our hope and faith in God, and whilst we have no clear idea of what that life will be for us, we celebrate this mark and the sure promise that Christ is with us till the close of the age.
For many Baptism happens as we are infants, and for some, it happens as adults. Clearly, the role of sponsors and Godparents will have a different character, however, the sacramental call of baptism to shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father remains the same.
Baptism is a once-only sacrament and we do not re-baptise people who have been validly baptised in another denomination, as that would be a breach of our faith in One God, One Church and One Baptism, which is part of our central belief.
More Information is on the Baptism Page.
We are delighted that you are considering getting married at one of our centres for this very important occasion in your life. The decisions, promises and commitments you will make will be binding upon you for life, and in coming to the church for marriage, you are asking God to be part of your marriage. Be assured of the church’s prayers for you as you make your preparations.
If you would like to be married in one of our churches on East Lake Macquarie please use the form on the contact page. Because your wedding is special for us, as well as for you, we like to make meaningful preparations for your big day. You will be invited to a marriage preparation meeting around 3-4 months prior to the date of your wedding ceremony. You will sign the Notice of Intended Marriage (Form 13) and start to plan the service with one of the clergy. The clergy can give suggestions about readings and music and can also advise you on photography and video recording. The earliest date that you can lodge Form 13 is 18 months before the wedding date but you are welcome to book a date before that.
What the Church Requires
Baptism. At least one of you is baptised. Baptism preparation is available for those who wish to take this step.
Planning. Meetings are held 3-4 months prior to your wedding ceremony date.
The official documentation is arranged by the clergy who will celebrate your marriage. You will however need to apply to the Office of Births Deaths and Marriages for your Registered Marriage Certificate after your wedding ceremony has taken place.
You will also need to produce your original birth certificates. If you have been married previously you will also need to provide the other appropriate documents, (decree absolute, death certificate, etc).
For us, in this moment of sadness, we are ready to walk with you as we say farewell to someone who matters, to look back over the things that mattered and for which we give thanks, to look up to God, confident in his love for all of creation, and to look forward to the road ahead and the many surprises it may yet have for us.
If you wish to talk about funeral planning please contact one of the clergy.
If you would like prayers for healing, for yourself or for another, please talk to one of the clergy team.
There is a ministry in the visitation of the sick and hospitalised, together with Home Communion which is part of this overall ministry.
Also, there is a particular focus on healing in the Friday Eucharist at St Peter's Swansea.
As a sacrament, it is a signing, declaring our acceptance in Christ, and pointing us to the redemptive love of God poured out for us at calvary.
As the bread is taken, offered, blessed, broken and shared, so we are called to live our lives, accepting the gift of life, so we may be blessed, and might share that blessing with those around us.
The liturgical act is described as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, and as such, it is a celebration.
The Ministry of Reconciliation or Confession points us to the heart of the atoning work of Christ and his one perfect and sufficient sacrifice made once for all upon the Cross.
Some think it is only a Roman Catholic ministry, however, it has always been part of the Anglican tradition as is clear in the Exhortation from the Communion in the Book of Common Prayer:
let them come to me, or to some other discreet and learned Minister of God's Word, and open their grief; that by the ministry of God's Holy Word, they may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of their conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness. (Book of Common Prayer 1661/2)
Paul writes "in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us." (Corinthians 5:19)