Rites and Ceremonies

Rites and Ceremonies

“And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

—Matthew 28:20

God calls us to holiness, and gives us the gifts of the sacraments to sanctify our lives. At Christ Church, important moments are marked by special rites and ceremonies according to the liturgies found in The Book of Common Prayer. These rituals consecrate and set apart the milestones of life, drawing us deeper into relationship with God and one another. If you would like information about any of the sacraments and services described below, please contact the Parish Office.

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Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ's Body, the Church. In the Episcopal Church, people of any age can receive the sacrament of Baptism. For those infants and young children who cannot speak for themselves, the promises and vows of Baptism are made on their behalf by parents and godparents. For those who are old enough to speak for themselves, sponsors stand to support them as baptismal candidates take this important step.

In addition to the promises and vows made by the individual baptismal candidates, the congregation commits itself to supporting and upholding the newly baptized as they grow in their faith. Because the people of this Parish bind themselves to this serious commitment, Christ Church expects that those who come seeking Baptism will be involved in the life of this congregation. Attendance at weekly worship, participation in baptismal preparation classes, and continued engagement in the life of Christ Church after Baptism are expectations of all families who are interested in this sacrament. However, the Rector is always willing to work with families who may not be resident in the area but who wish, for meaningful reasons, to schedule a Baptism at Christ Church.

Baptism typically takes place at the principal service on the First Sunday after the Epiphany (in early January), the Great Vigil of Easter (late March to Early April), the Feast of Pentecost (late May to early June), and the Sunday after All Saints' Day (the first Sunday in November). Other dates can be accommodated. A Baptism cannot be scheduled apart from a conversation with the Rector.


Confirmation is an opportunity for those who were baptized as infants to claim the promises made on their behalf by parents and godparents. It is also an occasion for those who may have been baptized in traditions other than the Episcopal Church to have their membership in this Church confirmed by the Bishop. Those who were confirmed by bishops in other denominations are received into this Church as our Bishop officially recognizes them as full members of the Body of Christ. Confirmation classes are offered regularly by the Rector. These are open to all who wish to take part, ages 13 and older.

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As our Prayer Book states, “Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God.” Marriage is a lifelong commitment to mutual love and support “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.” Couples interested in celebrating their marriage at Christ Church need not be members of the Parish. In the Episcopal Church, at least one of the two must be a baptized Christian. A period of preparation and counseling is required before the solemnization of any marriage. Couples interested in marriage at Christ Church should contact the Parish Office at least six months before their intended wedding day, preferably earlier. 


The traditional Anglican teaching regarding the Reconciliation of a Penitent (commonly called “confession”) is that “All may. Some should. None must.” The Rector is always available to hear confessions by appointment. Additionally, set times for the hearing of confessions are offered in Advent and Lent, when no appointment is necessary. Confession often brings with it a powerful sense of relief and forgiveness. Those who wish to schedule confession should contact the Rector directly.


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Ministration to the Sick

The Bible teaches us to pray for one another in difficult times. At Christ Church, we regularly offer prayers and intercessions for the sick and suffering through our Parish Prayer List, our Prayer Chain, and the Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer. One particularly meaningful form of prayer is the solemn laying on of hands and anointing with Holy Oil for healing. This is available to anyone suffering from any malady at anytime, and need not be reserved for occasions of extreme concern or danger.

Holy Unction is regularly offered at the conclusion of the 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning Holy Eucharist in St Agnes Chapel on the third Wednesday of the month.

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The Burial of the dead

Services for the dead derive their power and meaning from the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Christ’s victory over death, we also share in the “sure and certain hope of resurrection to eternal life.” However, the love we bear for our deceased friends and family members means that the feelings of sorrow and grief that we experience at their passing are real and powerful. The parish community mourns with those who are mourning, even as we celebrate the lives of those who died “in joyful expectation of eternal life with those they love.”

The Church offers ministries of support and care for those who are dying, and for their families. The death of any member of the congregation should be reported as soon as possible to the Rector so that funeral arrangements can be made. Parishioners of Christ Church, Cooperstown are encouraged to plan thoughtfully and prayerfully for their own mortality, making consideration for pious and charitable causes in the management of their affairs. Parishioners who wish to prepare a funeral plan to be kept on file at the Parish Office should contact the Rector. Those who wish to remember Christ Church in their wills are encouraged to make that intention known now. If they so desire, they will be honored and recognized as members of our Legacy Society.