Baptisms, Marriages, Funerals and other Life Passages
CELEBRATING AND MOURNING TOGETHER
At Mount Olive we share many of our life passages as a faith community. Thatís why we baptize and confirm members during regular Sunday liturgies. Itís why our marriages and blessings of unions are widely attended by fellow members. Itís why our funerals and committals are an important part of parish life. We laugh and cry, sing and pray, serve and learn, eat and drink, and live and die as part of Christís body in the world.
Baptism is one of two sacraments celebrated by Lutherans. Through the sacrament, people are made members of Godís family. (The other sacrament, the Eucharist, also called Holy Communion or the Lordís Supper, is an ongoing gift to sustain Christians in their life of faith, and we celebrate it at every Sunday liturgy.)
Baptism is about what God does. God uses water, an earthly element, to connect us to the death and resurrection of Jesus and the reality of Godís promises for the world. The ritual includes pouring water over the head of the baptized person, anointing with oil, tracing a cross on the forehead and breast and lighting a candle. Parents and godparents (sponsors) promise to help children grow in the Christian faith with the support of our congregation.
Baptism is one of the ways God conveys love for us. It is therefore open to people of any age. Are you interested in having a child baptized or in being baptized yourself? Contact us.
We do not have an elaborate ritual for those receiving their First Communion. Our practice is to depend on parents to decide when a child should begin receiving the sacrament, then to consult with the pastor. The ELCA prescribes no particular age, although the trend has been for parishes to open the sacrament to younger and younger children. At Mount Olive, many parents choose to have toddlers commune. The ELCA recommends a conference that includes a pastor, parents, godparents and child. For questions and comments, please contact us.
Confirmation is a public affirmation of Baptism that includes the laying on of hands and prayers for the Holy Spirit, most commonly done with young people as they approach high school age. At Mount Olive, confirmation classes are offered for 6th, 7th and 8th graders to help them learn about their faith and explore whether they would like to be confirmed. The three-year program includes instruction from Luther's Small Catechism, study of the Old and New Testaments, exploration of key Lutheran theological concepts, and deep discussions about faith, church, maturation and community. To inquire about confirmation, please contact us.
MARRIAGE AND BLESSING OF UNIONS
Please note: At Mount Olive these promises are made in a liturgy of Christian commitment. Because they are so important to parish life, it is Mount Olive’s practice to unite couples who are members and close friends of the congregation.
At Cana, in Galilee, Jesus made the wedding feast a sign of God’s love. In marriage, the assembled guests, led by Mount Olive’s pastor, witness a couple’s pledge to love and be faithful to one another, ask God’s blessing on their covenant, and promise to support them in their life together. At Mount Olive, these promises are made in a liturgy of Christian commitment. Because they are so important to parish life, it is Mount Olive’s practice to unite couples who are members or close friends of the congregation. Couples who wish to make public their promises to one another, please contact us.
CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
Some Lutherans regard confession and absolution as a third sacrament. At Mount Olive we confess our sins publicly at some eucharists during the church year, privately through prayer and occasionally in private conference with the pastor. Luther taught that audible confession to a pastor or a fellow Christian is a powerful experience as long as absolution is freely—not conditionally—given. Brief orders of confession and absolution (both corporate and individual) are included in our primary worship resource, Evangelical Lutheran Worship. We encourage those wishing to consult with the pastor to contact us.
There’s increasing emphasis in the church on promoting healing and wholeness. At Mount Olive, we celebrate a service of healing each year on the Feast of St. Luke (October 18). We maintain an extensive prayer list for those in need of healing in body, mind or spirit. Conferences with the pastor are also encouraged. Contact the church office for inclusion on the prayer list or to make an appointment with the pastor.
FUNERALS AND MEMORIAL SERVICES
At Mount Olive, funerals not only celebrate the life of one who has died and commend that person to Godís care, but also to remind the whole assembly of the Easter promise, which is eternal life with God. Evangelical Lutheran Worship, summarizes the churchís view: ďAt a personís death, the church shares the grief of those who mourn and remembers the brevity of life on earth. At the funeral or memorial service, we give voice to sorrow, thank God for our loved one and entrust this companion of ours into the hands of God. Trusting in Godís promise in baptism that we are claimed as Christís forever, we rest in the sure hope of the resurrection.Ē
Mount Olive’s columbarium is located in the church’s north transept. Please contact the church office to talk about arrangements for a funeral or, if body or ashes are not to be present, a memorial service.
ďIt doesnít matter who you are, where youíre from, what your background is, you are part of the body of Christ.Ē
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