One does not have to be a member in order to attend St. Andrew’s. Visitors are always welcome and a person may continue attending services and participating in church activities without formally “becoming a member.” However, membership does allow you to vote in the annual Vestry elections, approve the annual budget, and help decide on other important issues. And it is a public affirmation of faith by you, or, in the case of small children, by Godparents, and incorporation into the church.
We become members of the Church in Holy Baptism. Our Catechism reads, “Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God” (Book of Common Prayer, page 858). The Episcopal Church recognizes as Christians all persons who have been baptized with water in the name of the Holy Trinity. They are members of the universal Body of Christ, as arms and organs are “members” of a physical body.
Since Holy Baptism is often administered to infants or young children, the Episcopal Church provides the rite of Confirmation which gives the baptized an opportunity to express a mature commitment to Christ. Customarily this rite follows a period of preparation including study and prayer. If the Baptism or Confirmation takes place in an Episcopal church, the person is a member of that particular parish until death or until his or her records are transferred to another parish. If Baptism took place elsewhere and the person arranges for the fact to be recorded in an Episcopal church register, that person is thereby a member of our church. Individuals baptized in other denominations may be “received” into the Episcopal Church.
The meaning of Baptism and requirements for being baptized are contained in the words of the liturgy for Holy Baptism found on pages 298-314 of the Book of Common Prayer. If you’d like to become a member or transfer your membership, please call 763-7636