Transfiguration is happy to provide a number of Christian rites to individuals and families throughout the year. These rites include Baptism, Weddings, and Funerals. As a part of this work we have a number of policies that help us help you in times of celebration and transition.
The Baptism of any person into the life and faith of Christianity is a uniquely special moment. For The Episcopal Church, it is also a time of grand celebration and great solemnity. We do not view Baptism as “something that you simply do,” but rather as an act and a commitment that has universal and eternal consequences.
We do Baptisms in the context of the Church. The rite itself takes place during the principal worship service of the community, typically on a Sunday morning. They are not done correctly outside of this context. We are baptizing the person into the life of a community, not into a vacuum. Baptism is such a profound thing. It is our practice here not merely to baptize a person without preparing them, or their parents for what they are signing up. As such, we expect those who are coming forward for Baptism to go through formation classes before taking part in this rite. This step helps us to combat the idea that Baptism is just what one does when a child is born and places it correctly inside a Christian context. The classes stretch over three weeks and last for about an hour each, with extra time given to planning the rite and rehearsing the rite.
Baptism effects not only the candidate but also the community. We ask those who are seeking Baptism to be a part of our worship for no less than eight weeks. This request prevents a “dunk and dash” mentality; meaning after we perform the Baptism, we never see you or your child again. It is a requirement that keeps the person and us requesting Baptism from making promises that they do not intend to keep. As the ones asked to support each candidate in their life in Christ, we cannot enter into that commitment if there is no intent ever to see this Church again.
As you prepare and discern whether Baptism is right for you or your child, please keep these considerations in mind. We wish to serve you to the best of our ability while making our expectations clear.
In the course of human life, many events occur that are planned and unplanned. Perhaps this is no truer than in the course of the death of a loved one. Such a time can hold confusion, heartbreak, anguish, grief, and a host of decisions that need to be made. Frequently these decisions include how the service looks and flows. In that matter, Transfiguration can be of great help to families.
As an Episcopal Church, Transfiguration has at its disposal a funeral rite that is sensitive, flexible, pastoral, and dignified. The form, as found in The Book of Common Prayer, has given families a structure to plan a service. This form allows for a rite that both honors loved ones and provides comfort for the family at large. The service instructions include suggestions for scripture readings that are especially appropriate for funerals. Our gifted musician can advise on music choices that help echo the themes and sentiments conveyed by those readings, drawing on our rich tradition of hymnody. Working in concert with one another, we are confident that we can help you create a service that provides comfort while allowing you a space to grieve.
As part of this policy, we strongly suggest “extras” be kept to a minimum. Extras such as slideshows and long eulogies, while beautiful, can extend services to unreasonable lengths. Doing so may make saying goodbye harder for you and your guests. Also, by constraining readings to scripture, the Christian message of death and resurrection is more clearly communicated. Sometimes readings from secular sources can be helpful, but these should be discussed carefully with the priest performing the service. Secular music, as well, can be beautiful but can also offer conflicting themes and notions that may conflict with Christian teaching. It has sometimes been the case a family member selects a song that was beautiful to them, but hateful to others. Not all beautiful music contains messages compatible with Christian Burial or Christian life on the whole.
Such extras may find a more appropriate place in receptions that follow the service, or in wakes held beforehand. Many visitors remark that slideshows of pictures of the one who has passed are a beautiful part of wakes and receptions. Favorite music of the deceased can also be played and appreciated during receptions and wakes on their own merits without running the risk of clashing with Church music. Likewise, long remembrances may run especially long in the emotionally charged space of a funeral service. Many feel more at ease in the more relaxed atmosphere of a reception, when time is given for such remarks. However, if a member of the family or a friend would like to speak during the service, we can accommodate that request. We ask that those remarks be appropriate and kept to a reasonable amount of time, allowing for the homily the priest will preach as well.
We take great pride in the flexibility and variety that our tradition gives families in saying goodbye. These rites are over 500 years old and are regarded by many as some of the most beautiful funeral rites that are attended. Seldom does one hear of an “ugly” Episcopal funeral. As we walk with you in these difficult times, please know that we have your best interests at heart and are here to help you however we can.