Weddings We invite you to enter into conversation with our priest if you would like to have your wedding ceremony at St. Mark’s. Normally, the priest of the parish presides at the celebration of marriages. If you would like another clergyperson to preside at your marriage, you must obtain the consent of our parish priest (Rector). Baptisms Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. It is a public statement of one’s intentional decision to follow the way of Jesus. In the case of infant baptism, it is the parents’ declaration of their intent to raise a child in the way of Jesus including involvement in the Christian community. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble, so baptism is only administered once. When you choose to be baptized yourself or to have your child baptized in the Episcopal Church, it means you are choosing to live out the Baptismal Covenant in the context of an Episcopal church community, taking your part in the worship, mission and ministries of the local parish. Baptism is open to all people, this includes the children of LGBT parents. If you feel called to be baptized, or to have your child baptized, the first step is to talk to the clergy about baptism. Baptism should be regarded as the beginning of a spiritual path and not the culmination of one. It is not necessary that a candidate for baptism fully understand nor be comfortable with every word of the Christian Creeds and doctrines from the outset, but rather be ready to embark on the rich path of discovery into the way, truth and life of Jesus Christ. If you are new to the Episcopal Church and have already been baptized in another denomination, you may wish to renew your faith life. If this is the case, you may be Received or Confirmed in the Episcopal Church, rites which the priest can help you learn about and discern whether they are appropriate for you. Wherever you come from and whatever your faith background, the Episcopal Church welcomes you! Funerals In the Episcopal Church we believe that through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, at death, “… life is changed not ended; and when our mortal body lies in death, there is prepared for us a dwelling place eternal in the heavens.” (From the preface for the “Commemoration of the Dead” page 382, The Book of Common Prayer.) Our burial services find their meaning in the Resurrection; because Jesus was raised from the dead, we too shall be raised. The services are characterized by joy in the eternal love of God in Jesus Christ, and by our human grief at the death of a loved one. While we rejoice that a loved one is now with God, we are sorrowful with those who mourn. A death should be reported as soon as possible to the priest. All arrangements for burial services are made in consultation with the clergy. Burial services follow the rites authorized by the Episcopal Church. Christian burials are customarily held in the church but in the case of extreme and clear pastoral reasons may on occasion be held at the funeral home or graveside. When possible burial services are to be held at a time and place when family, friends, colleagues and the congregation of the deceased have the opportunity to be present. If cremation is to take place, burial services may be held prior to this, or if held afterwards, the ashes should be present at the service. A Memorial service will often take place weeks, months or a year after death has occurred. All arrangements for the services are made in consultation with the clergy of the parish and follow the rites authorized by the Episcopal Church.