The Sacraments

The Sacraments

Seven sacraments are recognized in The Book of Common Prayer: Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation of a Penitent, Unction of the Sick, and Ordination.

God's grace meets us in countless and often unexpected ways. The sacraments of the Church are those rites in which God has promised always to meet us.  Sacramental rites are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace. 

Holy Baptism: The sacrament of Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble. Each candidate for Baptism is sponsored by one or more baptized persons. At St. John’s, Baptism is offered on the following Sundays: All Saints, the Baptism of Our Lord, Easter, Pentecost, and the Bishop's annual visitation. Adults and parents of infants and children seeking Baptism must attend a session with the rector during the week leading up to the event. For more information on when the next session will occur, please email Kristi Brown at or call her at the parish office at 540-343-9341.

Holy Eucharist: Eucharist is a Greek term meaning “thanksgiving.” Holy Eucharist is the sacrament by which we express our deep thanksgiving for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. At Holy Eucharist, the Communion of Christ’s body and blood is administered in bread and wine. In faith we say that Christ is present in these holy elements by the mystery of God. The grace imparted through Holy Eucharist is three-fold. It is backward-looking in blessed memory to Jesus’ act of love and sacrifice on the cross. It is in the present moment a spiritual nourishment for our journey in faith. It is future-oriented as a foretaste of God’s heavenly banquet in which the creation will be made whole and all of God’s children will eat at the feast of the Lamb.

Confirmation: In the course of their Christian development, those baptized at an early age are expected, when they are ready and have been duly prepared, to make a mature, public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism. At St. John’s, Confirmation is offered on the Sunday of the Bishop's annual visitation. Candidates must attend a multi-week course to prepare for Confirmation.  For more information on when the next class will occur, please email Kristi Brown at or call her at the parish office at 540-343-9341. For more information on youth candidates for confirmation, click here or contact the minister to children and families, Christine Mortlock, at

Holy Matrimony: Christian marriage is a solemn and public life-long covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God. In the Episcopal Church it is required that one of the parties be a baptized Christian. For more information about weddings at St. John’s, contact Kristi Brown at or call her at the parish office at 540-343-9341.

Reconciliation of a Penitent (commonly called Confession): God absolves our sin and frees us from sin’s burden whenever we ask for forgiveness with a penitent heart and a conviction to amend our lives. Often, great comfort is found when God’s absolution is confidently pronounced to us by another faithful member of the Body of Christ. Reconciliation of a Penitent is the rite in which those who repent of their sins may confess them to God in the presence of a priest, and receive the assurance of pardon and the grace of absolution. Reconciliation is always available in the Episcopal Church. If you experience the need for this sacrament, please contact one of St. John’s clergy.

Unction of the Sick: Unction is the sacrament of healing whereby one who is ill is anointed with holy oil. In the case of illness or hospitalization, notify the clergy of the desire for this sacrament. A healing service is also offered at the Wednesday morning Eucharist at 7 a.m. in the chapel.

Ordination: There are three orders of ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church: Bishops, Presbyters (or Priests) and Deacons. Bishops carry on the apostolic work of leading, supervising and uniting the Church. Presbyters (or priests) share in the governance of the Church, in the carrying out of its missionary and pastoral work, and in the preaching of the Word of God and administering his holy Sacraments. Deacons assist the Bishop and Priests in all of this work. Deacons have a special responsibility to minister in Christ’s name to the poor, the sick, the suffering and the helpless.