Episcopal Diocese of Maryland
228th Annual Convention
May 4-5, 2012
Bishop Claggett Conference Ceter, Bckeystown, MD
The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland
The Episcopal Church, USA
The Episcopal Book of Common Prayer,
St. Paul’s Parish is a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, which has its offices in Baltimore. The Diocese of Maryland is part of the Episcopal Church USA which is part of the Anglican Communion, a world-wide affiliation of Christian churches. There is no single “Anglican Church” with universal juridical authority, since each national or regional church has full autonomy.
The local Episcopal “Mother Church” of Frederick County is All Saints, in the City of Frederick. Not far from Point of Rocks is the diocesan conference facility, the Bishop Claggett Conference Center, at Buckeystown. And right adjacent to Claggett is the new continuing care retirement community, Buckingham’s Choice, sponsored by Episcopal Ministries to the Aging, Inc.
The Episcopal Church in Maryland is as old as the first English settlements on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in the 1630s. Beginning in 1692 the British government formally established the Church of England by requiring all householders to pay an annual church tax for the support of church buildings and the clergy. This was ended in 1776, but beginning in 1781 concerned laymen and clergy formed “The Protestant Episcopal Church” and elected Thomas Claggett as the first bishop to be consecrated in America.
In 1868, the counties of Maryland’s Eastern Shore became the Diocese of Easton. In 1895 the Diocese of Maryland was further divided; the District of Columbia and Montgomery, Prince George’s, Charles and St. Mary’s counties became the Diocese of Washington.
In the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, as in the New Testament, Baptism is the complete rite of entrance into the life of the Christian community, including both water as a sign of repentance and prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit; that is, every baptized person, of whatever age, is a communicant member of the Church. The norm is adult baptism, although infants and young children may be baptized if parents and other sponsors make the baptismal vows on behalf of the child. In this case, the sponsors are expected to undertake the same process of preparation as they would if they themselves were to be baptized.
The sacrament of Confirmation, prayer for the empowering of the Holy Spirit with the laying on of hands by the bishop, is an act of reaffirmation of baptismal vows. It is an appropriate act of faith when an individual wishes publicly to renew his or her baptismal vows, such as upon beginning a new ministry or stage of life, or upon becoming a member of the Episcopal Church.
Please contact the Priest-in-Charge if you are considering asking for Baptism or Confirmation. It is their responsibility to see that each candidate is spiritually ready and has had adequate preparation. Various options for preparation are available. The orders for Baptism or Confirmation can be found in the Book of Common Prayer, pages 298-314, and pages 412-419. They are also available online at: http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/formatted_1979.htm