422 Brenau Avenue, Gainesville, GA 30501
This deceptively simple sentence embodies the rich theology of membership as found within the Book of Common Prayer (1970) in The Episcopal Church. It is through Baptism that we are a part of the Church, Christ’s Body here on Earth.
Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble.
– Book of Common Prayer, 298
When one “joins” a parish, he or she is actually joining The Episcopal Church, and is listed on the roll of a particular parish community, such as Grace Episcopal Church. While the Sacrament of Holy Baptism is mainly celebrated with infants and children these days, adult baptisms are not uncommon.
If you are not baptized, Holy Baptism is essential for living into membership within the Church. At least each Fall, we will offer a class designed for those who wish to make Grace Church their spiritual home. We invite you to take initiative in your spiritual journey and let the parish office know of your intent.
If you are baptized in another Episcopal Church or in another denomination, the Episcopal Church recognizes your baptism to be a valid and joyous event of entry into the life of the Church and the Body of Christ. If you are currently a member of another denomination, you may request to have your membership listed at Grace. We ask that you give us information on you and your family, and we have a form that we will ask you to complete. Once we have heard from you that you wish to make Grace your home, with the information we need, you will be a full member of The Episcopal Church at Grace Episcopal.
It is also the norm within The Episcopal Church that youth and adults explore the Sacrament of Confirmation. “In the course of their Christian development, those baptized at an early age are expected, when they are ready and have been duly prepared, to make a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism and to receive the laying on of hands by the bishop.” – Book of Common Prayer, 412
While Confirmation is not required for membership in The Episcopal Church, it is required—by the Canons—to both vote in the annual meeting and to serve on the vestry, the parish’s governing board. We also stress that Confirmation is vitally important within your spiritual life, as you continue to explore and practice your faith. At Grace, we hold Confirmation to be a central part of our life together, as we seek to continue “to grow into the full stature of Christ.” – Book of Common Prayer, 302