Saint Peter and Paul Parish Church, Borden

... a village church for all denominations

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Sacraments of the Church

Being firmly rooted in the catholic tradition of the Church of England, much of our worship is sacramentally based.  The Book of Common Prayer defines a sacrament as, "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof."  Put more simply, a sacrament uses simple, everyday materials (water, bread, wine, olive oil) to point us to a fuller understanding of God's love for us. Many Christians hold that there are only two sacraments (Baptism and the Eucharist) which have biblical authority, but close examination of Our Lord's words and actions seems to point to seven Christian sacraments.


The StoupBaptism may be described as the "entry level" sacrament because it provides the means whereby people become Christians.  In most cases, in the Church of England, people are baptised as babies or as very young children, with parents and godparents making promises on their behalf.  However, baptism is open to "children" of all ages, and it is becoming increasingly common for adults who have "missed out" during childhood to seek baptism at the same time as their own children.
Baptism is a sacrament which is particularly rich in symbolism.


ConfirmationThis is perhaps the sacrament which is most difficult to understand.  It used to be the sacrament which gave people the right to receive the Eucharist, but an increasing number of churches now admit children to Communion before confirmation.  In the ancient Church people were admitted to communion after baptism.



For Christians marriage is much more than a social contract between two people.  It is seen as representing the marriage between Christ and his bride, The Church.  As such, marriage is indissoluble and life-long.  The preface to the marriage service says,
"No-one should enter into it lightly or selfishly but reverently and responsibly in the sight of Almighty God".
There is clearly much more to Christian marriage than "booking your church for my wedding" as one recent caller from New York put it!


ReconciliationThe Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is an area of Church life approached with great suspicion by some.  With some justification, many of those who have not experienced the benefits of this sacrament take the view that "Catholics go to confession on Saturdays to confess their sins, and then spend the rest of the week doing exactly the same all over again".