Time to be Received?

Perhaps you were raised in another Christian tradition, but have been worshiping at Grace for a while now—a few years, ten years, perhaps longer. Maybe you consider yourself a former Roman Catholic, a former Evangelical, Methodist, etc. You feel connected to Grace, and to our Episcopal worship—but you’re not sure you are “officially” an Episcopalian. What does that even mean??

If this describes you, please consider being received or confirmed at our upcoming deanery Confirmation service, which will be hosted at Grace on Saturday, October 27th at 10:30am. Three of our young people will be confirmed, along with other youth and adults from other parishes in our deanery (or Episcopal neighborhood).

What does it mean to be “received” into The Episcopal Church? Reception is when “baptized persons who have been members of another Christian fellowship who wish to be affiliated with the Episcopal Church make a public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their baptism in the presence of a bishop” (according to this Episcopal glossary which yes, exists!

In other words, it is the way that the Church acknowledges that you were formed in faith in another church, a different expression of Christianity, but now you live out your baptismal vows in The Episcopal Church. This is a formal way of welcoming you into the larger worshipping community of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, that extends beyond Grace.

Here are some reasons to consider being received or confirmed as an adult:

  1. It is an opportunity to learn more about our Episcopal faith beyond Grace. I’ll be meeting with those who are interested in Reception or Confirmation, to discuss and ask questions and think about what it means to claim our baptismal vows as adults. All your Episco-questions answered!!
  2. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge all of who we are in faith.Reception does not mean disavowing your former tradition. It is a public welcome and thanksgiving for you, for your past as a Christian in another church, and your present and future as a Christian with us. For some of us, this may be especially healing.
  3. It’s a chance to become a bit more integrated in our faithful selves.Many of us have complex religious pasts (says your rector, a baptized-Catholic raised-Evangelical Episcopalian who married a former Mormon Unitarian Universalist . . . ). Reception or Confirmation can be a moment when we claim who we are now, and gently loose the hold of our religious past on our present identity.
  4. It’s a chance to do something we’ve sort of meant to do but never quite go around to. The service is at Grace! You don’t even have to drive across Newton or Brookline!
  5. Bishop Bud Cederholm is the least intimidating bishop ever. His name is Bud. He is a super friendly guy who is a grandpa and plays the guitar. This will not be scary.
  6. It’s powerful to renew our baptismal promises with people from lots of other churches.  We are part of something bigger than ourselves. And Grace is part of a larger Church. Coming together as a deanery helps us to remember this—we have many companions on the way.
  7. A big festive and tasty Grace reception will follow. Enough said!!

Please be in touch (pastor@gracenewton.org) if you would like to discuss being received or confirmed in late October. And please keep Tim, Ethan, and Caroline in your prayers as they prepare for Confirmation, too.

In Christ,