Frankly – If you wish to be a member, you ARE a member
Do you come to church fairly regularly? Do you think of yourself as part of the church? Are you a baptized Christian? Do you want to be considered a member of St. Ann’s Church? If you answered yes to any or all of these, you are a member of St. Ann’s. We are delighted to have you be part of our parish family. Several times a year, we have, in our service, a Liturgy of Belonging, which welcomes newcomers into our church family. Anyone who wants to be a member of this community is welcome to take part in these services. We also, periodically, have Meet & Greet parties for those who are new to the congregation. Again, they are open to anyone who wants to be a part of St. Ann’s.
Sacramental entry into the Christian community is through the joyous, welcoming service of Baptism. “All persons who have received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, whether in this (the Episcopal) Church or in another Christian Church, and whose baptism has been recorded in this church, are members thereof.” (Canon 17, Section 1) If you have not been baptized and wish to discuss that possibility, please contact the church office. Contact: St. Ann’s Rector, rector@stannswoodstock•org.
If you are an Episcopalian: If you are a member of another Episcopal congregation, or were ever confirmed in an Episcopal Church, you can transfer your membership. Simply, provide our parish office with the name and location of the church and the approximate dates of your membership or, if you were confirmed there, the approximate date of confirmation, and we will send for a letter of transfer, or you may wish to contact your previous parish yourself. (The rector has a directory of all Episcopal Churches, with addresses and telephone numbers.)
If you are from another province of the Anglican Communion: If you are a confirmed Anglican from, for example, the Church of England or the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Episcopal Church in Japan), provide the parish office with your birth date and place, baptismal date and place, and Confirmation date, place and bishop.
If you are a member of another Christian denomination: If you were baptized with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in any Christian denomination, you may become a “baptized member” of St. Ann’s Church. Just provide the parish office with your birth date and place and your baptismal date and place.
If you have not been baptized: Call the parish office or speak with one of the rector to arrange a baptism. Baptisms are done at regularly scheduled services on the feast days specified by the Book of Common Prayer (Baptism of Our Lord, Easter Eve, Pentecost, and All Saints) and also on the Sunday after Easter, Thanksgiving Day, and occasionally on other Sundays or feast days. Anyone baptized at St. Ann’s Church is a “baptized member.”
If you wish to be confirmed or received: The Book of Common Prayer defines Confirmation as “the rite in which we express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.” Youth Confirmation classes and adult inquirers’ classes are offered periodically. Any baptized adult, and any baptized youth in eighth grade or higher, is eligible. Persons who have been confirmed in another denomination by a bishop in the apostolic succession (most often Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and others) are received by the bishop rather than confirmed. Those who have been confirmed or received are classified as “confirmed communicants.” Speak with the rector if you are interested in confirmation or reception.
Together in Worship & Financial Support: The Book of Common Prayer says that the duty of all Christians is to “follow Christ; to come together week by week for corporate worship; and to work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God.” As defined by the Diocese of Chicago and Bylaws of St. Ann’s parish, a voting member of St. Ann’s parish is 16 years of age, be identified in our “records” as a member, and for six months prior to a parish election, be a regular attendant at the parish and a regular contributor to the current expenses of the parish. Most members make an annual pledge of financial support, either during the fall stewardship campaign or at any time during the year. Please contact the parish office for a pledge form or offering envelopes.
Members in good standing: A member in good standing is one whose baptism is entered in the parish register (through one of the means described above), who worships regularly, and who is a contributor of record (by pledge or other identifiable contribution) to the general support of the parish. Baptized members in good standing are eligible to serve on the vestry of the parish.
What is the DIFFERENCE between Confirmation, Reaffirmation, and Reception?
Confirmation is “a mature and public affirmation of faith and commitment to the responsibilities of Baptism” (BCP). At Confirmation, an individual receives the laying on of hands by the bishop, thereby affirming their own faith and visibly connecting to the broader Body of Christ.
Reaffirmation means that you choose to re-state your commitment to Christ in The Episcopal Church, honoring your growth in faith throughout your spiritual journey. Reaffirmation is a way to honor your journey and previous public commitment as an adult while also making this definitive sacramental gesture.
Reception is common for people who have been active throughout their lives in other denominations. Often, individuals who made a public profession of faith in a faith tradition such as Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, or Roman Catholic will choose to be Received into The Episcopal Church.
What is the meaning of the bishop laying hands on those who are confirmed, reaffirmed, or received? When the bishop lays hands on your head during the service, it is a very tangible way for you to experience your own faith journey being welcomed into the larger journey of the Body of Christ. For many people, this portion of the sacramental service is very meaningful. A sacrament is “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.” In this way, the touch experienced in the laying on of hands forever remains in your memory as an experience of grace through the Church.