How Can I become a Member of the Episcopal Church?
1. How can you become a member? First of all, we would love to have you join Episcopal Church of the Annunciation (ECA)! Please contact the Rev. Paul McCabe or Rev. Gretchen Ratterree and they will be happy to help you.
Here is some general information about membership in the Church. Baptism makes us members of the Church. And, we can then live into the meaning of our baptism within specific congregations and Christian denominations. The five sections below will spell this out more fully.
1. Most importantly, the sacrament of Holy Baptism, makes you a member of the Universal Christian Church. The Episcopal Church recognizes as Christian all persons who have been baptized with water and in the name of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).
2. If you were baptized into the Universal Church in an Episcopal congregation then, in addition to becoming a member of the Universal Church, you were enrolled as a member of that particular congregation and also became an “Episcopalian.” You are member at the church where you were baptized until death or until you transfer to another congregation. So, if you were baptized at ECA, you are a baptized member here. If you have asked that the record of your baptism be transferred here, then you are a member here as well.
3. If you were baptized with water and in the name of the Trinity in another Christian communion or denomination, you can become a member of ECA by asking that your letter of baptism be transferred so that you can be enrolled on the books of this parish. This makes you a baptized member of the Episcopal Church in general and a member of ECA.
4. All baptized members are encouraged to receive the sacrament of confirmation, either when they reach maturity or in connection with baptism if they are baptized as adults. In confirmation ‘we express a mature commitment to Christ and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.’ After confirmation, a person is a confirmed member.
5. If you were baptized and confirmed in another church you may be received (rather than reconfirmed) by a bishop of The Episcopal Church. This makes you a confirmed member of The Episcopal Church. Adult (16 years of age and older), confirmed, communicants in good standing (you have been faithful in attending corporate worship and in praying, working, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God) may vote for Vestry (the ruling body of the congregation), run for the Vestry and represent the congregation in the diocese. We hope this answers some of your questions. And we encourage you to be in touch. You are most welcome at Episcopal Church of the Annunciation!
(Much of the information above was taken from the Forward Movement brochure on “Membership in the Episcopal Church”. Forward Movement is an official, non-profit agency of The Episcopal Church and is sustained through sales of tracts and through tax-free contributions. They can be reached at 300 West Fourth Street, Cinicinnati, OH 45202-2666, 800-543-1813; www.forwardmovement.org)