Presbyterians practice two sacraments: Holy Communion and Baptism. One classic definition of a sacrament dating back to Augustine (354-430) is that it is “a visible sign of God’s invisible grace.”
Baptism is the sign and seal of our entrance into the community of faith, of which Christ is the head. At Covenant Presbyterian Church, as in all Presbyterian churches, we baptize children of church members as well as adults upon their profession of faith in Jesus Christ. The baptism of children witnesses to the truth that God’s love claims people before they are able to respond in faith. As children grow into young people we invite them to participate in a confirmation process and confirm their baptism. Baptisms always take place during a regular worship service. The faith community has an important role in the baptism ritual, as they are asked to love, support and nurture the one receiving baptism. For this reason, we do not perform private baptisms. Covenant’s guidelines are:
- Baptism is authorized by the session and administered by a minister of Word and Sacrament.
- Ordinarily, at least one of the infant or child’s parents shall be an active member of Covenant. On occasion, member grandparents may sponsor a grandchild’s baptism provided that the child’s parents are active members in another church.
- Before each infant or child baptism both parents meet with a pastor to discuss the meaning of baptism and parental obligations of raising a baptized child.
- Adult baptism generally occurs at the conclusion of the Student Confirmation Class or the New Member Class.
Lord’s Supper – celebrated on the first Sunday of each month.
Holy Communion (or the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper) is the Sacrament that celebrates the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus often shared meals with his followers, welcoming all to his table. In the last meal he shared with his disciple, Jesus took bread and wine and spoke of them as his body and blood, signs of a new covenant, and asked all who follow him to regularly share this meal in remembrance of him. When we partake of the bread and the cup we remember him. We remember that through Christ we are in union with God and in fellowship with one another.
The invitation to partake of the Lord’s Supper is not limited to a particular tradition or denomination, but is offered to all who trust and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Access to the table is not a right given to the worthy, but a privilege given to the undeserving who come in faith, repentance and love. To prepare to receive the sacrament, we confess our sin, seek reconciliation with God and neighbor and trust that in Christ we are made new. Though one may have doubts and uncertainties, the invitation stands to you to come and receive Christ’s grace in the bread and the cup.
Children who are baptized are invited to share in the Lord’s Supper regardless of age or level of understanding, as participation is an important step in their faith journey.