Life Events

Jesus said, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit’. 

Baptism is one of the two great sacraments instituted by Christ; the other is the Eucharist, which is available to all the baptised.

Baptism is available to all who seek to follow the way of Jesus.

Baptism is an affirmation by everyone involved of Christian faith and, in the case of infants, a consecration of them to God and at the same time an undertaking by their sponsors (parents, godparents and church family) to bring them up in this faith. 

Adult baptism requires a period of time spent in worship, learning and getting to know about the Christian community. 

Anyone who wants to join the Christian church must be baptised. 

 

Godparents / sponsors 

A child brought to God for Baptism must have at least one Godparent. The custom is to have three, two of the same gender as the candidate and one of the opposite gender. 

However many you have all Godparents MUST be baptised Christians. Please talk this over with the clergy if you have any questions. 

 

When will Baptism occur? 

Baptism at St Paul’s is usually during a Sunday Eucharist, either at 8:00am (rarely) or 10.30am. The presence of other Christians reminds us that in being baptised one is joining the church. 

For pastoral reasons baptisms may be done outside these times, please talk this through with the Clergy.  

Baptism is not the same as a naming ceremony. It is an affirmation by everyone involved of their Christian faith and, in the case of infants, an undertaking to bring them up in the Christian faith.

 

Confirmation 

Confirmation is part of Baptism though in our Tradition the two parts are often separated in time. Confirmation is a sacramental rite because of its connection to Baptism. In Confirmation the Baptismal Promises are confirmed by the candidate and their promises are sealed by the Holy Spirit who strengthens the Christian to live a Christ-like life. 

In the Anglican Church it is usual for the baptised to be Confirmed when they reach a stage in life of being able to make the baptism promises their own. Adults who are baptised should be Confirmed as soon after their Baptism as is practicable.   

 

Marriages at St. Paul’s 

Weddings in St. Paul’s are governed by two things.

  1. The requirements of the Commonwealth of Australia as set out in the Marriage Act 1961 as amended and section 43(a) of the Family Law Act 1975.
    According to Australian law, Anglican clergy are required to use only the rites of Anglican Prayer Books when conducting a marriage service.
  2. The Canons (Laws) of the Anglican Church of Australia 

The Marriage Act 1961 requires 

  • Both the bride and groom must be 18 years old or more.
  • The bride and groom must not be too closely related to each other.
  • They must be free to marry, i.e. either never validly married before, or else divorced.
  • There is a "Notice of Intended Marriage" form which must be completed at least one month prior to the proposed date of marriage.
  • Full birth certificates must be produced. 

The Anglican Church of Australia laws require 

  • That at least one of the parties to be married has been baptized; 
  • The wedding should be in a church or chapel licensed by the bishop of the diocese
    unless express permission is given by the bishop for the marriage to be in some other specific place; 
  • To be in the presence of not less than two witnesses; and
  • where either or each of the parties to be married is a divorced person, permission to re-marry is given by the bishop beforehand. 
 

Marriage in the Anglican Church

The prayer book teaches that marriage in the Anglican Church is the union of a man and a woman in a lifelong partnership in which they are called to unite in heart, mind and body, to enrich and respond to each other and grow in tenderness and understanding. It is a gift from God and a symbol of God’s unending love for his people.

The Preface, A Service for Marriage Second Order, from A Prayer Book for Australia, 1995


Who can be married in an Anglican Church?

Marriage customs vary slightly throughout the Diocese of Melbourne. Many parishes have an open policy regarding marriage – anyone wishing to be married in an Anglican church may be – but under the law of the Church, at least one party to the marriage must be baptised. The remarriage of divorced persons is possible in the Anglican Church with the permission of the regional bishop. Many parishes ask that couples being married attend a church service so they can have a chance to meet the vicar and understand what church is. 

 

Marriage preparation programs in the Diocese of Melbourne 

While planning a wedding is important, it is even more important to make plans for the longer lasting celebration – marriage. Pre-marriage preparation is the church community's way of giving support and guidance to a couple as they approach their marriage. Good pre-marriage preparation affirms the strengths in a relationship and clarifies the expectations a couple has for the marriage while providing the opportunity to face honestly the potential stressors in a lifelong relationship. Even couples who have already been living together for some time, are still two separate individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, experiences, hopes and fears. The Melbourne Diocese believes that couples contemplating marriage owe it to each other to think and talk through all aspects of married life before the wedding.

 

Funerals in the Anglican Church

A Christian funeral marks the ending of a human life in memory and hope. A funeral gives people the opportunity to give thanks for a person’s life and remember who they were for those who knew them. It helps people say goodbye and commend the person into God’s hands. A Christian funeral places this in the context of God’s loving presence with us as we grieve and also proclaims the Christian hope in life after death through Jesus being raised from the dead. 

An Anglican funeral service can take place in a church, a funeral home or a private home.

 

Preparing for a funeral

If someone close to you is dying or has died, and you wish to talk to someone about a funeral, or just discuss what you are going through, please contact your local clergy person. 

People can always contact the priest when the person is dying as the minister can assist with accompanying the person and their loved ones in preparing for death. 

 

Organising a Funeral

It is best if the funeral director and the priest are in contact with each other to arrange the time and day of the funeral. This can avoid mistakes being made. 

The funeral director and the priest will discuss practical arrangements for the funeral. The priest will meet with the family and spend some time with them in shaping the service in ways that reflect something about the person and provide the opportunity for people to be involved in the service in ways that are appropriate. 

 

The shape of the service

Funerals may be very short and quiet services with a few people present or very large (or anything in between) with one or several people speaking and can include the use of music. 

The service itself takes people on a journey as they gather in God’s presence, remember the person who has died by telling something of their life story and reflect on what the person meant to them. Then we hear from the word of God and the minister reflects on that word, before offering prayers to give thanks for the person’s life lived with us as well as praying for those who mourn. Then we say farewell and commend the person into God’s hands. The committal can take place either in the church at the crematorium or at the cemetery if there is a burial. There is also the option for Holy Communion to be celebrated in the context of the funeral service, if this is desired.

Involvement in the service

There are opportunities for those close to the person to be involved in the service, by placing symbols of the person’s life, reading a lesson, or giving a eulogy about the person, and in being a pall bearer (carrying the coffin out of the church). 

based in part on http://www.melbourneanglican.org.au/faith/rites/Pages/default.aspx