There are Milestones in every part of life that mark a new beginning or a change in our lives. We celebrate our church Milestones together.
Our Church accepts two Sacraments: Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is an outward and visible sign of the grace of God. Through baptism, a person is joined with the universal church, the body of Christ. In baptism, God works in us the power of forgiveness, the renewal of the spirit and the knowledge of the call to be God’s people always. Baptism with water and the Holy Spirit is the sign and seal of our common discipleship. Since baptism is God’s gift, the Holy Spirit is called to be upon the water and those being baptized. The act of baptism also marks the beginning of a new life of discipleship with Christ, the human response to that gift. Baptism marks a person’s acceptance into the care of Christ’s church, the sign and seal of God’s grace and forgiveness and the beginning of their Christian faith and life.
At Bethel-Bethany UCC, Holy Baptism is celebrated in the presence of the community gathered for worship. Parents, in consultation with the pastor, may choose sponsors or Godparents for infants and young children who are to be baptized. Other candidates for baptism may also be given this opportunity to have sponsors. At the baptismal service, the sponsors, who accompany the candidates and present them for baptism, may make promises identical to the promises of the parents. We normally practice infant baptism, but also can provide for the baptism of adults.
The United Church of Christ recognizes the validity of all baptisms, therefore there is no need for re-baptism. If there is a question about whether baptism has taken place, a conditional phrase may be added as a person is baptized, such as, “if you are not already baptized.” It is a well-accepted practice, however, for people to renew their baptismal vows in a service of baptismal renewal, such as the Order for Renewal of Baptism in the UCC Book of worship.
Confirmation is the renewal of the baptismal covenant. Baptized young people, having been instructed in the Christian faith, publicly confess their faith in their Savior, Jesus Christ, promise obedience to Christ until death and are received by the Church into active membership.
Confirmation classes are designed for young people entering 7th and 8th grades. Confirmands receive instruction from the pastor and other teachers on the Christian faith and the mission of Bethel-Bethany UCC. Upon completion of the second year of the confirmation program, students are asked to write a “Statement of Faith” paper that describes their personal beliefs regarding the Christian Church.
Confirmation ceremonies at Bethel-Bethany are typically held on Pentecost Sunday, in May or June, when confirmands receive their first communion as adult members of the church.
Members and immediate family members are given first consideration in selection of dates for wedding services to be performed at Bethel-Bethany UCC. All couples are asked to attend pre-martial counseling sessions with the pastor. A listing of church wedding service fees is available upon request from the church office.
The pastor officiates at the funeral services of members. Services are held at Bethel-Bethany UCC or local funeral homes.