RITES AND SACRAMENTS

The Sacrament of Baptism

Baptism is the primary sacrament of the Church. Through baptism, one becomes a member of the Church, which is the Body of Christ.

In conformity with the ancient Church, we baptize both infants and adults. Since it is Christ who baptizes, the Sacrament of Baptism is not repeated, even when the sacrament was given in another denomination.

Baptisms are offered at all regular worship services. Private baptisms are discouraged and are usually reserved for emergency situations.

Baptism Seminars are offered regularly. For more information on baptism or to request a baptism, please contact Ian Hartfield, Director of Congregational Life or speak to a Pastor.

The Sacrament of the Altar

The Eucharist (also called The Lord’s Supper and Holy Communion) is the climax of regular Christian worship and is celebrated at all weekend liturgies. It is Christ himself who – in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit – both gathers us to his table and feeds us with his own full, personal presence. We believe that Christ makes his true Body and Blood present to us “in, with, and under” the bread and wine. In this meal, Christians celebrate not only a mystery of faith but also a divine promise to be truly present to his Church – this is the good news made tangible!  

In conformity with the ancient Church, baptism is the usual pre-requisite for receiving Communion; therefore, all baptized Christians (even children) are invited to the altar. First Communion classes are offered regularly.

Private Confession and Anointing of the Sick

When Luther wrote the Small Catechism, the Lutheran reformers still considered private Confession as a sacrament. Thus, a description and template for confessing are included in the book. Later, Luther and others began to consider Confession an extension of the Sacrament of Baptism, wherein we hear again and are reminded of the divine promise to remove sin and transform the repentant.

While we do not list private Confession as sacrament, it still has a place in a vibrant and reflective Christian life. Luther reminds us that the whole of Christian life is to be one of repentance and reconciliation. We begin our worship with Confession and Absolution.

We are intentional about offering opportunities for private Confession during the season of Lent after the Vespers liturgies. However, for those who wish, private Confession is available at any time by appointment with a Pastor.

Likewise, if you or a loved one are seriously ill, facing surgery, or dying and would like to receive prayers and anointing (James 5:14), please contact a Pastor.

Confirmation/Re-Affirmation of Baptism

Confirmation (also more recently called “Re-Affirmation of Baptism”) is not considered a sacrament by Lutherans, though it is acknowledged as a very important part of development in the Christian faith. Since many are baptized as infants, the Rite of Confirmation marks that an intentional period of education has occurred (but not ended!) and allows the individual to affirm their faith in Christ. For more information, please see our Confirmation page.

Weddings

Marriage is a sacred bond (covenant) in which two people share vows of love and fidelity in the context of their faith in the community of the Church. Couples who wish to celebrate their wedding at Kountze Memorial will undergo an intentional time of spiritual reflection, preparation, and conversation with a Pastor. For more information on scheduling marriage preparation, please contact the church office.