Baptism means “washing”, being washed in God’s Spirit of love and life. It is a reminder of God’s unconditional love for each of us and a sign of our calling to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. It is a sacrament – an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. Baptism speaks of our identity as children of God and our commitment to walk in the ways of God as best we can throughout our lives. Through baptism we are welcomed into the Church, not just St. James, not just the Anglican Church, but the world-wide Church which we speak of as the Body of Christ. In baptism, we celebrate God’s love and embrace for God’s people as unconditional and absolute; we are “marked as Christ’s own forever,” making it a sacrament that is done only once in a person’s life.
Baptism is also a time when the community of faith gathers to renew its own commitment to Christ and to support those who are being baptized in their life in Christ. So it is appropriate that baptism takes place, in the midst of the congregation during the Communion service on a Sunday.
In the early Church, adult baptisms were the norm as more and more people heard and responded to the message of Jesus. Adult baptisms continue to be the cause for great celebration in our church. We encourage adults who are exploring the Christian faith at St. James to discuss the possibility of baptism with one of the members of the clergy.
Baptisms of infants and children also bring great joy to the families of the newly baptised and to the entire congregation gathered. If you wish to bring your child to be baptized, a member of the clergy will invite the parents of the child into conversation about the meanings of baptism in anticipation of this happy occasion.
A church wedding is a joyful and deeply meaningful sacrament, which is to say that it is one of the most sacred occasions in the lives of individuals and of the Church. At St. James we understand marriage to be a physical and spiritual union, entered into within the community of faith, by mutual consent of heart, mind and will, and with intent that it be life-long.
We are committed to equal marriage. We welcome requests for all weddings, regardless of gender identity or orientation. The clergy of St. James are happy to discuss your particular situation with you in confidence and to work with you and support you in whatever ways we can.
The death of a loved one is always difficult and the clergy of St. James are available to meet and pray with you, and to assist in the planning of a funeral service. It is an honour for us to accompany you during this time, and to offer a place of hospitality and welcome. Funeral and memorial services at St. James are distinctively Christian, being based on the liturgies of the Church, but are shaped around the life of the person we are giving thanks for. Therefore, services are characterised by joy and by the reality that nothing can separate us from the love of God, even as we honour the very real grief that comes when someone we love, or struggle to love, has died.